Monday, July 27, 2009

A Busy Weekend

We spent the weekend helping Jeni get ready for her move. On Friday Linda boxed and boxed. On Saturday she had another garage sale, and then John took the leftovers to the Goodwill. Jeni can barely get her car in the garage with all of the boxes.

On Saturdays in Pendleton there's a farmer's market with local produce, baked items, flowers, and home made crafts. We were late getting there this week so a lot of the booths were gone, but John was still able to get some cookies.

The market is located on the "square" where there's a building dating back to 1880. It was the city hall, but it's to small for that (government has a way of growing over the years), so now it's a restaurant.

There's some good stores and restaurants around the square, including antiques, handmade items, coffee shops, and bakeries. It's a nice place to spend an hour or two, and it's walking distance from Jeni's house.

Back at the campground, it was very active. The campground was full, and the lake was busy with boats and jet ski's. There was a lot of families, and everyone was having a good time even though the high was 93!

Pontoon, or party boats, are very popular down here. They hold a lot of people, and you can swim, dive, fish or party on them. Some even have BBQs on them for cooking.

On Sunday Linda & I went to Greenville for a shopping expedition. There's a nice mall with Dillards, Macys, Pennys, & Belk, a local department store. We didn't buy much, but John got some nice wine glasses at Coldwater Creek. They have a school of tiny fish in the side of the glass. We had a nice Mexican dinner at a restaurant called Don Pablos. Even in the south they have good fresh southwest food. It doesn't measure up to CA or AZ, but it was good after a long dry spell.
So that was our weekend. More later.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Time Is Passing Quickly

Here it is already Thursday, and it seems like we just got here. We're very comfortable in our new campground and we're enjoying relaxing by the lake. The weather been a little warm to spend much time outside, but we're hoping we'll get use to the humidity.

Linda has spent a lot of time starting the packing. It's hard to know what exactly to pack before everyone gets here, but she's doing her normal great job. The garage is starting to fill up with boxes, but there's still room for Jeni's car. So we have a long ways to go.

We've done a little shopping, but Linda is still looking for the right outfit. Jeni is making out well though as Linda finds new clothes for her. John been cooking most of the meals, but tonight we went out to Ruby Tuesday's for some great hamburgers.

So that's about it, not much exciting but we're really enjoying it. We know it'll start getting hectic next week. So stay tuned for more stories.

In case you're interested in John's iPhone, he's been adding apps like crazy. The iPhone is part phone, part computer. And you can go to the Apple Apps Store to get some amazing software. He'll highlight some during the coming posts in the blog. This time we'll feature Pandora, which is an Internet radio station that you program with your favorite artists or type of music. John picked Frank Sinatra (naturally), Glenn Miller, Michael Buble, and the Boston Pops. He can choose any artist, or choose a random mix of all of them, and the phone will play just those artists. It's pretty neat, but the iPhone needs earphones to get the best sound. But it does use the battery quite a bit. You can also listen to Pandora on your computer with access to the Internet. More next time.

Monday, July 20, 2009

We Move MoHo to a New Campground

Our week was finally up at the Anderson KOA. Here's a picture of our site, and as you can tell it's mostly rocks. What you can't tell is the bad slope towards the left. We were more than ready to relocate. The owners were real nice, but it wasn't a good fit for our needs with Pearl.

We decided to move to Twin Lakes Campground on Lake Hartwell. It's another Corp of Engineers(COE) facility with 50 amp electricity, good for the air conditioners, and water hookups. We don't have a sewer hookup, but there's bathrooms with showers & a dump station. Here's a picture of our new site, #95.

As you can see, it's very wide and has a sand base. Pearl loves it, and there's grass on the front of it. We're all very happy. We're about 5 miles away from Jeni, and Clemson. We'll be here until August 1, when we get ready to go to the Smokey Mountain National Park. This next picture is the view from our passenger side windows. We also have a view of the lake out the front window.

The campground is only about 1/3 full, but this weekend its sold out. So our views will be partially blocked by new campers in the vacant sites right on the lake. This is one of the problems with a 100% reservation system at a campground. Here there are not any first come first serve sites. The sites can all be reserved. So the locals reserve the best sites right on the lake on the weekends, but during the week there's tons of open sites. But if you want to stay for 1-2 weeks, your choices are very few and they're in the worst areas. We believe there should always be some first come sites available for travelers to use for extended stays. The fees here are $20, or $10 with an access pass. Very reasonable.
John walked down to the lake shore at sunset to get a picture of Lake Hartwell.

Lake Hartwell is huge, with part of it in GA, and most of it in SC. Clemson is right on the shore of the lake West of our location. And I-85 crosses the lake and has bridges over the different channels. Here's a link to maps of the Lake.
The weather has been pretty good, mid 80s with about 60% humidity. But it's supposed to get warmer towards the end of the week, with thunder storms. Hopefully they won't bother us or Pearl to much. We're much happier here at Twin Lakes.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Moving Sale

Saturday was the big moving sale for Jeni. We helped get everything ready on Friday, and John put up signs about the sale. Jeni had a good system for pricing. She put colored labels on all of the sale stuff, then put up a poster with the pricing by color code. Very efficient.

She had just started the sale when someone from the city came by and asked her if she had a permit! It seems that cities will charge you for anything to make additional money. Whatever happened to free market. Since she didn't have a permit, he took down most of her signs. Luckily she was able to sell some of the stuff before he got there. We wondered if they have to pay extra to have the inspector work Saturday just to check on sales. By the way, the permit is $40, which really cuts into any proceeds from the sale. We were going to have another sale, but we think we'll just donate all of the stuff from now on.

On Sunday we went to Gaffney to the outlet mall. Both of my girls were looking for some new outfits, but John ended up with new shoes, pants, and some shirts. So it was a good day all around. And we had lunch at a new Chipole Grill in Greenville. It satisfied all of our food needs as Linda & John got chicken bowls, and Jeni got a vegetarian bowl. One thing we forgot was that stores don't open on Sunday until 1:30 so that we got there a little early. Some things are different in the South. It did give us a chance to check out the water tower in Gaffney that is in the shape of a giant peach. Or from a certain direction like a giant butt. Look at a peach sometime from below

Friday, July 17, 2009

An Exciting Day for John

We spent most of today at Jeni's house starting the packing. Linda spent the day in the garage organizing boxes and packing books. Jeni spent the afternoon working on her moving sale that is scheduled for tomorrow.

Now John, he did something different. For many months friends and family have been complaining about John's cell phone, and the poor audio. John finally made a decision and ordered a new one. And it came today:

A Brand New Apple iPhone 3G!

Talk about jumping from the dark ages to the newest. And of course he spent most of the day & night playing with it. Just what he needed, another gadget to play with. This will really try Linda's patience.

More on the phone in coming days. And more on Jeni's move later.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Another Blog to Read

Not much happened today, so we though we would share one of our favorite blogs with you.

Nick Russell writes a blog imaginably called "Nick's Blog". Nick and his wife Terry started fulltiming over 10 years ago. They were living in Show Low AZ, Nick running the local paper, and Terry managing a glass shop. They sold their house, and hit the road.

They started in a motorhome, but sold it for a bus conversion. They needed to some additional income, so Nick started to do what he does best, write and publish a newspaper on the road, so the Gypsy Journal was born. And that's how we found out about them with a subscription to their paper.

A couple of years ago Nick started the blog. He writes a new entry every day about what they're doing, where they are, and a lot of times some sage advice. It's always interesting, and we never miss a day.

So check out Nick's blog to find out what a real RV blog is about. You'll get hooked the same as we are. You can click on the underlined Nick's Blog.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Time In South Carolina

We're starting to settle in. Our sleep patterns seem to be still on Pacific time. We can't get to sleep to early, and we have trouble getting going in the morning. What's funny is that it even affects Pearl. She's slow getting out of bed in the morning.

On Tuesday we had a nice dinner with Jeni. It was so good seeing her in person instead of just talking on the phone. The last time we see her was at John's Mothers Memorial, which was a quick visit. We had dinner at McGee's Irish Pub in Anderson. It's always interesting to go out with Jeni now that's she's a vegetarian. She always finds something to eat on any menu with no problem. Linda and I split a "Steak & Cake". A small steak with a great crabcake. I don't have to tell you who ate what. It came with a twice baked potato and a greek style salad. Great food. It's funny though, we don't remember what Jeni ate-oh yeah, a salad and french onion soup. Ours was better.

Jeni had a Yoga class that night, so we called it an early evening. We did drop off all of the moving boxes we had brought from Aunt Donna to help with Jeni's move. For those of you who don't know, she's taken a position at Arizona State in Tempe. It's call a post doctoral position, and she'll be working with a famous Professor in Special Education for 2 years. It's really a plum job for Jeni, and we're happy that she's moving closer to the west coast. The only down side to the position is that she has to be in Arizona right after graduation, and she teaches her first class on August 17. We were hoping to spend some time together exploring areas on the east coast, but maybe some time in the future.

On Wednesday we explored downtown Anderson looking at the shops. Linda would like to get a new outfit for the graduation, and there's a lot of neat small shops. John even found a wine shop to spend some time in, and an organic grocery where he bought some raspberry jam and pickled beets. We had lunch downtown at a historic Town House. They had an interesting special where you can choose fried chicken, NY steak or prime rib with 3 sides for $7.50. As is our habit, we split fried chicken with pickled beets, homemade potato salad, and peach cobbler as our sides. Every thing was good, but the peach cobbler was a little too sweet.

Jeni was busy that night, so we headed back to the MoHo. One of the problems at this campground is that we're in trees so we can't get our Direct TV. They do offer cable though, but it's hard to watch all of the commericals. Are we spoiled or what.

Tomorrow more planning, and packing.

Monday, July 13, 2009

South Carolina at Last!

Whew, we made it! We finished the trip today. We started in Mississippi, then went through Alabama, then Georgia, and finally South Carolina. We're at the Anderson KOA about 5 miles from Jeni's house.

This KOA doesn't measure up to the fine experience we had in OK. It's an older facility that doesn't handle big rigs very well. The site we have is on a slope and has gravel instead of grass. We thought we were saving money because they were running a special, stay 4 night and get 3 nights free. Now we know why. We'll be moving to another campground on Monday when our week is up.

Tonight we're just staying in the MoHo resting and recovering. Tomorrow we'll see Jeni and figure out our next steps. Pearl is starting to act more normal, which is very encouraging to us. We think this might be her last trip in the MoHo.

The weather here is not as hot as on the trip, a high about 92 with 60% humidity. Much better than OK, but still plenty hot for these westerners used to a dry heat. We run the air 24 hours a day to stay cool.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Fulton, MS

Come on, you all know Fulton, MS. HUH! It's a small town just past Tupelo. And do you know who was born in Tupelo? None other the King, the original, Elvis! They have a statue and the home where he was born. And 30 miles east of Tupelo is the Whitten Park campground, one of the Corps of Engineers facilities.

We have never stayed at a COE campground, and boy have we been missing out. What a beautiful park, right on the river. We had a long pull through with 50 amp electric and water, but no sewer. And the rate was only $11 with our federal access card. What a bargain!

We finally got off of I-40 as we were leaving Arkansas. We zipped through a little portion of Memphis, TN, and then we were on Hwy. 78 in Mississippi. We love to spell that state. Hwy 78 is a limited access 4 lane divided road that had signs up stating that it's the future I-22. Great road with no potholes.

Tomorrow we should make it to SC. We're looking forward to stopping for a while. This is not our type of traveling. We like to travel 200 miles and then stop for a week and explore the area. And we're going to do that in SC.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Checotah, OK

Boy, it's hot going across Oklahoma. We left New Mexico, crossed the panhandle of Texas including Amarillo, and into Oklahoma. In Amarillo is a famous Big Texan Steak House, home of the 72oz. steak. It's free if you can eat it in an hour, and they have a list of the all of the people who have meant the challenge.

How do people live here with all of the humidity, and tornadoes. Of course, California has earthquakes, the Midwest has deep snow and freezes, and the South has hurricanes. So we guess everywhere has weather problems, no place is perfect.

We made it to the small town of Checotah which is on Lake Eufala. It's a pretty lake with a lot of cabins around it. We decided to stay at a KOA, a chain of franchise campgrounds across the US. We haven't stayed in one in a long time, but the website RV Park Reviews gave it high marks. It was a very nice park, with a restaurant and grassy sites, which Pearl our dog really appreciated after 3 days of rock and sand in the desert. If we weren't in a hurry, we would have spent another night just to relax.

Tomorrow, it's on to Arkansas and beyond!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Tucumcari, NM

We're at Cactus RV park in Tucumcari, New Mexico. This is an old town with many memories of Route 66. This RV park used to be the old Cactus Motel. The rooms are boarded up and the parking lot is converted to a RV park with full hookups. The people were very nice, the rate is only $17, and it was just what we wanted for an overnight stay.

We needed a 50 amp hookup so that we could run our air conditioners during the night. The high during the day was 97, and it didn't cool down much at night. We went out to dinner at a local steakhouse and it was good, with an excellent salad bar. Then we drove the old route 66, with all of the old motels and sights. Some were in good shape, but a lot were in ruins. It's not the most prosperous town. They do have a nice looking museum about dinosaurs, but it was closed.

As I mentioned, it was hot. In the afternoon we did something we had never done before. We started the generator and turned on the roof air conditioners. It made a huge difference, as we were comfortable and able to turn off the engine air. John had read in one of the online blogs that the average MPG stay the same.

Tomorrow it's on to Oklahoma. Hotter, and the humidity will start to get bad. We're not as worried though now that we know that the roof air conditioners work so well.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Back on the Road

As many of you know, we had to change our plans on March 31 and instead of beginning our travels east, drove west. John's Mother, Betty, had taken ill, and we wanted to visit the Doctor with her. The diagnosis was not what we expected, they found that she had lung cancer. For the first time since November, 2006, we had to find a storage site for MoHo, and we moved into Betty's house.

After a brief battle, John's Mom passed away on May 9. We were shocked that she went so fast, but thankful that we were able to spend a lot of time with her. Now she's reunited with John's Dad, and in a much better place.

It took us quite a while to finalize all of the details after the memorial service. But we're anxious to get back to South Carolina to spend time with Jeni and get ready for the big celebration of her graduation. Did I mention that our daughter is now a Doctor of Education!!! All of her hard work was successful, and she graduates on August 8.

So we left L.A. this morning. We had move MoHo from the storage lot to Linda's Mom's(Lois) driveway to charge the batteries, restart the refrigerator, and move our stuff back in. This felt strange, as we had never taken stuff out of MoHo for a long period of time. We were aiming to leave by 9:30am, and we hit the road at 9:45, really good for us. The only problem was that John forgot the cell phones and chargers back at Betty's house. So we backtracked to Laguna Woods, picked up the phones, and then started East. We followed I-15 towards Las Vegas, and then caught I-40 heading East. This would be our route for the next 4 days.

As we went over the pass out towards the high desert, guess what? It started to get HOT. But the MoHo was running well and we made it almost to Flagstaff. It was late and we were just looking for a place to sleep so we stopped in a rest area just west of the city. And it was nice and cool since we were at 7300' above sea level. It would the last time we were cool.

Tomorrow we'll head for New Mexico.