The Beginning of Another Winter Adventure

After getting home from Sarah and Jacob’s, Kim had some busy work days. She was trying to finish things off in order for us to get away earlier this year. On Sunday the 17th we had an early Christmas with Josh and Tammy and the boys. I think the boys thought it was great getting early Christmas presents. And of course we had our traditional turkey dinner. The week leading up to our departure we tried to tidy up loose ends and Kim finished up work on Wednesday. Thursday was appointment day for Kim and Friday we began packing the motorhome. Josh and boys came over Friday for supper.

Saturday morning we finished packing up the motorhome. As we were getting the car on the dolly our neighbour Bill came out to see us off. We were on the road a little later than planned but it was a nice sunny start to our journey.

When we arrived at the border crossing into Port Huron there was a fairly long line ahead of us at customs. There were 2 other Motorhomes in the line beside us . As it turned out, we picked the wrong line. The border patrol officer in our lane was taking forever to clear vehicles. It took us about an hour from the time we got in line to finally clear customs and be on our way. The other 2 RV’s were long gone by the time we got through.

We made our way south on I-94 through Detroit and continued out past the airport to I-275 and went south. This seems to us to be a better way to get to I-75 as it misses a lot of bad road south of Detroit. Our sunny day soon became a cloudy day but the drive was pretty good once we got south of Toledo. Our intention was to get as far as Lima, Ohio and then stop for the night at the Walmart. South of Findlay it began to snow big flakes with a little rain in the mix. We pulled into a Flying J to fuel up in Beaverdam, Ohio. It was nasty out. Rain/snow, windy and cold. It had become slippery as well and we decided that we would just spend the night in the RV parking area of the Flying J. Another fellow RV’er in a motorhome decided to do the same.

It was a cold first night with temps below freezing and the motorhome was c c cold in the morning. I put the furnace on and it took a good hour to warm up the motorhome. We managed to get on the road in good time and drove down I-75 to Cincinnati and then went west toward Louisville, Kentucky. The temp was starting to rise and we stopped at a rest area south of Louisville for lunch. We drove on down through Bowling Green, Kentucky and into Tennessee. We skirted around the outside of Nashville and headed west on I-40 and stopped for the night at a Walmart in Dickson, Tennessee. It was a nice mild 13ºC (55F) when I stepped out of the MH and sunny. Since this was our first Walmart stop we did a little grocery shopping and picked up a deal on a rotisserie chicken and some mac and cheese to have for supper. This was a big Walmart and had plenty of parking around the outside of the parking lot for RV’s and trucks to park. We were the only RV but there was another truck stopped for the night.

The temperature didn’t drop as much overnight but it was still chilly in the MH in the morning. I was up early and turned on the furnace. Kim got up a little while later and while she was having her breakfast she noticed some guys outside trying to load a pickup truck on a trailer. She watched as this truck shot up on the trailer and seemed to go sideways and up on 2 wheels before coming to rest on the trailer. I looked out and saw the pickup had overshot the trailer and into the back of the truck pulling the trailer. This was all happening just a few feet from the front of the motorhome. I went outside to have a look . The pickup they were trying to load had indeed overshot the trailer and crumpled in the tailgate of the towing pickup The front end was hung up in front of the trailer with the front wheels hanging above the ground. Well that was going to be a situation. I chatted with the guys with the trucks and it turns out they thought the pickup they were loading had a clutch problem. They had it idling out of gear behind the trailer and all at once it took off and loaded itself and kept going. Luckily for these guys no one got hurt. We chatted for a bit.. They were very friendly. We thought we would get out of their way so we got things packed up and set off down the road.

We continued west on I-40 and stopped for a break at a rest stop just down the road a ways to call and make a reservation at a campground in Little Rock. We needed a place to fill our water tank and de-winterize so that we could begin to use our own water. We passed through Memphis, across the Mississippi and into Arkansas. The temperature was starting to get quite nice.

We arrived in Little Rock, Arkansas about 3 PM on Monday afternoon. It was very nice outside, about 20ºC (68ºF). We are staying at Downtown Riverside RV Park. It’s on the north side of the Arkansas River that separates North Little Rock and Little Rock. It’s a nice spot for us. We have a massive pull through lot with a cement pad and full hookups. We found out about this park from reading Paul Whistlecraft’s facebook posts. We know Paul and his wife Judy from Rock Glen. Paul had posted they would be here for a few days so we thought we might see them. Turns out that they are parked in the row behind us. They didn’t seem to be at home when we arrived. Shortly after we arrived and got hooked up, 2 motorhomes pulled in next to us with Ontario plates. These were the 2 MHs we saw at the border crossing at Port Huron on Saturday. Once they got set up we chatted. We actually chatted for quite a while. Both couples are on their way to Arizona as well. While we were chatting Paul strolled by and was surprised to see us. We chatted with Paul for a bit and it was soon time for supper. Our original plan was to just stop here overnight but we thought we might stay and extra night and see the sights.

Today (Tuesday) we awoke to cloudy skies and rain was in the forecast. We decided rather than stay another night we would head off late morning. We did take the car off the dolly for a couple hours and drove to the local Camping World. Then we decided to do a little sight seeing. We drove to the Bill Clinton Presidential Museum and took a few pictures outside. We then toured past Little Rock Central High School. If you remember your history this was the location of the 1957 desegregation incident in which 9 black students were denied entry to attend the school. A showdown occurred between the Arkansas Governor and President Eisenhower. The President ordered the 101st airborne division to escort the students and federalized the Arkansas National Guard. There’s more to the story but that’s the real short version.

Next we drove to the Governor’s Mansion and got out and took some pictures and also of some of the homes in the area.

When we got back to the campground we put the car back on the dolly and prepared the motorhome to leave. Our neighbour Al stopped by to say goodbye and Paul and Judy came over to wish us a safe trip. We were on the road a little after 11:00AM and drove on down I-30. Not far outside of Little Rock our GPS started warning us of delays up ahead. We had stopped for fuel shortly after leaving Little Rock and later stopped for lunch at a rest area. Just down road from the rest area, traffic came to a complete standstill and eventually began to crawl along. We were probably delayed about an hour. Traffic on I-30 was very heavy and lots of transports. We eventually passed through Texarkana and in to Texas. Did you know that Texarkana is on the border of Texas and Arkansas? Half the city is in Texas and half in Arkansas. Hence the name. Just a short while later we pulled into the Walmart in New Boston, Texas. There is 1 other motorhome here tonight. A couple from Kentucky on their way to Yuma, Arizona. They are staying at an RV park just down the way from Pilot Knob RV resort where we are headed to in the middle of December.

Well that brings you up to date. Tomorrow we will arrive at my cousin Wes’s place and we’ll be spending some time with him.

Things to do, Things to see and Places to be

We just arrived home after spending 2 weeks with our daughter Sarah and son-in-law Jacob in Puyallup, Washington. While on the west coast Kim and I did a little site-seeing and a little shopping. Actually Kim was shopping and I was the chauffeur. Now on the other hand Kim and Sarah did a lot of shopping. We spent our evenings with Sarah and Jacob since they were working during the day. We had a great time just hanging out together. I received a very nice surprise from Sarah and Jacob. They had tickets for Jacob and I to go to a Seattle Seahawks game on the first Sunday we were there. We had great seats just a few rows from the field in the corner of the end zone. The Seahawks were hosting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. What a great experience. The fans are very loud and I tried to do my part as well. Of course everyone wears their Seahawks jerseys and such. And by looking at the names on the back of the jerseys it was obvious that I had lots of relatives in the crowd. It definitely is a different experience to see a game live rather than just seeing it on TV. Thanks Jacob for taking me along. I loved it. Another special event was a Michael W. Smith concert that Kim , Sarah and I went to. The concert was in Bellingham, Washington, so it was a bit of a drive and the venue was an beautiful old theatre called Mount Baker Theatre. We’ve been fans for quite a long time so it was a treat to see him in concert again. For those of you not familiar with his music, he is a songwriter and performer in what used to be called Contemporary Christian Music. I’m not sure if it’s called that still. We started listening to him back in the 80’s when he was touring with Amy Grant (also a Christian Artist). After the concert we were groupies hanging out by Michael’s touring bus to see if we could get a picture with him. We waited about 1/2 an hour and Michael came out of the theatre and stopped to say hi and we got a picture of us with him. Mission accomplished. Kim and Sarah like to do these things. A couple years ago Kim and Sarah went to an Amy Grant concert and waited for her outside by the buses and Amy came over and chatted with them for a bit and they had a picture with her too. There’s actually another time when Kim and I waited outside after a Donny and Marie Osmond concert in Toronto, but that’s whole other story in itself. The 2 weeks went by fast and now we’re home again.

Century Link Field

When we left Ingersoll it was a coolish 13ºC and we returned to -6ºC and about 6 inches of snow on our car. Its time to start making our way back down to the southwest for the winter. Actually I’m thinking it was time 2 weeks ago. Not liking the cold and snow this early in the season.

This spring, summer and fall has flown by. We spent much of it at home. Got some projects completed around the house and did manage to get to Rock Glen (our home campground) a few times through the summer. I’ll try to catch you up from where I left off in my last post.

Around the 3rd week of June We drove the Motorhome up to Durham, Ontario to a place called ‘The Ridge’. Bill and Patsy spend their summers on The Ridge in their RV. It’s a great spot. There are wetlands and a pond on the property and it’s very quiet. There is also a fairly large grassy field that Bill can use to fly his RC planes. They have a huge flat gravel area around their RV that can accommodate the occasional visits from their RV friends. They have several out buildings. They invited us to bring the RV up and spend some time with them. We met Bill and Patsy for the first time in Quartzsite, Arizona back in January. Since then we have become good friends and this gave us a chance to hang out together and get to each other better. We all went on a trip to a flea market in Keady. It was kinda cool weather wise and there weren’t as many vendors as there might have been other days but it was quite large and there were many different kinds of vendors. A very nice market. One evening we went out to dinner at a place called Kettles. They had very good food…very nice. Mostly we just hung out for happy hours and evenings around the fire which was nice chatting and such. Rob and Pat joined us one day for happy hour, it was nice to see them again too. Bill was working on his ‘hangar”. He has built a small shop where he can build and work on his RC planes. It now has power and a big TV as well. It was coming along nicely at that point.

Near the end of July, Kim and our oldest grandson Aden travelled out to Newfoundland with Kim’s Mom and Kim’s brother. Their destination was Hickman’s Harbour, a small fishing village on Random Island just a very short distance of the east coast of Newfoundland in Trinity Bay. Kim’s Mom grew up in Brittania, Newfoundland which is another tiny village on Random Island. Kim’s uncle Roy and aunt Lill live in Hickman’s Harbour, and that was where they were staying. Kim and I took Aden to Newfoundland a couple years ago in the Motorhome and he loved it and was very excited to be going back. Newfoundland is a beautiful province full of wonderful people. If you haven’t been, you should put it on your list. While they were there they spent some time down by the water gathering sea glass, one of Kim’s favourite things to do do when she near any body of water (except mud puddles). They also had the occasion to go out for tour of the sound on a boat owned by one of the locals. They did some of the touristy things too like going to Trinity and Bonavista. Their last few days were spent back in St. John’s and they took time to see the sites like Signal Hill and Cape Spear.

While Kim was in Newfoundland I was busy painting all the exterior wood on our house. The front porch has a lot of exposed wood and it takes such a long time to paint. Also all of our windows are wooden so that means removing the aluminum storms from each before painting. And while I’m at it the windows all need to be cleaned. I think there are a total of 15 windows and 3 doors. Its was a lot of work but since we changed colour this time its looks really good.

In early August we took the Motorhome back up to Durham to Bill and Patsy’s place. We arrived on Wednesday the 7th and planned to stay until the following Wednesday. I mentioned earlier in the post that they had a nice flat gravel area that could accommodate other RV’s. Actually they were able to accommodate 4 other RV’s that week. We spent time with our hosts Bill and Patsy and friends Rob and Pat, George and Sue, and Ron and Lori. We spent our happy hours together and most evenings we all sat around a nice campfire. Lots of stories and lots of laughter. But we were all in on a secret except for Rob and Pat. There was actually a party planned for Rob and Pat’s 50th wedding anniversary and Rob’s 70th birthday. The party was planned and hosted by Rob and Pat’s son and daughter and was to be held at Rob and Pat’s house in Durham. Our job was to keep Rob and Pat away from their house and then get them to the party at the appropriate time. This proved to be no easy task. But all went well. Their were only a few fibs to be told in order to keep the ruse. The surprise was intact and Rob and Pat were very pleased to see many of their friends and family there to honour them.

Friends on the Ridge

Some of the friends starting leaving on Sunday and Monday. We had planned to take a short trip up to my cousin Marg’s cottage up near Lionhead on the Bruce Peninsula for an overnight visit. Bill and Patsy allowed us to leave our Motorhome at their place. The drive was nice up around Owen Sound and through Wiarton on our way up. Nice scenic country along there. Because of high water levels on the great lakes this year the access road to their place has been flooded so we knew that Marg’s husband Chris would meet us with a boat to take us the final distance to their cottage. When we arrived at the place we texted our arrival and Chris said he would come get us……. in his rowboat!! We waited for a few minutes and soon Chris turned the corner and came down the flooded roadway… in his rowboat. We must have been quite the sight. Kim got in the back with the couple small bags we brought along, I was perched in the front with a big guitar case sitting behind me and Chris in the middle rowing us slowly along out across the water to their, now island, retreat. I think there’s a song we could have been singing.. Anyway, all was well and we arrived safe. Marg and Chris’s cottage was once a lodge and had a very nostalgic feel about it. Lots of bedrooms, a nice cozy living area with a fireplace and a large kitchen and eating area, The wooden table in the eating area was very large and unique. It was left by the pervious owners mainly because they couldn’t get it out the door. My cousin Wes from Texas and my cousin Andrew from Chicago were also visiting while we there. After our arrival and getting settled we sat around the big table and had some snacks and beverages and chatted about many things, not the least of which was telling family stories. The Wilson and Rawlin families are known for telling stories, and there are many. We spent the evening playing music. Wes is a fantastic guitar player and Chris is equally talented on Bass. Chris and I stayed up late into the night playing and chatting about music in general and the Beatles in particular. We’re both huge Beatles fans. The next morning we were not in a rush to leave but we were on the road by late morning heading back to Bill and Patsy’s. We arrived mid to late afternoon and enjoyed a last happy hour with them before our departure on Wednesday morning.

Later in August we were at Rock Glen with our son Josh and daughter-in-law Tammy and the 3 grandsons, Aden, Ethan and Seth. Josh and family rented a cabin for a few days and we spent much of the days together. The boys like to come to Rock Glen because there are so many things for kids to do there. The favourites are the indoor play area with ball pits and climbing things, the indoor pool (because its nice and warm and shallow enough at one end so that even Seth can touch bottom) and mini golf. We had some nice days weather wise so that was nice too.

Moira Lake

Labour Day weekend we travelled up to Madoc, Ontario to Crystal Beach Campground on Moira Lake. Our friends Al and Mary have a trailer there and for the past few years we’ve been getting together on the Labour Day weekend with them. Al and Mary’s two daughters and their husband and fiance respectively were there as well. Much of our non eating times were spent together down at Al and Mary’s site. They have a beautiful spot right on the lake and Al has his boat tied to the dock in front. This is the same lake that we come to on the guy’s fishing time every year in May. On the Saturday there is a get together with Al’s family (brothers and sister and their families) as well as other friends in the campground. In previous years it’s been a fish fry but this year was a pot luck. It’s always a good time. We look forward to it every year. Al’s Dad passed away this past spring, I’ve known his Dad for quite a while. He was a great guy. Always full of life and laughter. He also had a trailer at the campground and would be there Labour Day weekend as well. He made us feel like part of his family. It wasn’t quite the same without Big Al this year.

Sarah came home in September for a short visit over an extended weekend. Arrived on Saturday morning and flew home on Tuesday morning. We turned it into an early Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend to surprise her. We had the traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings on Saturday late afternoon. Josh and Tammy and the boys came for dinner. Of course while she was here Kim and her did some shopping on Sunday, Ha.. While I watched football at home (good choice).

We were back in Rock Glen in September and met up with 2 couples we met last September at Lazy Lakes Campground near Newfane, New York. Actually we had met them briefly earlier in the year at Rock Glen. Bill and Barb and John and Wendy. We spent a couple happy hours and a couple evenings fires with them and a few others. They’re both great couples and we always have good fun with them

Several of my former coworkers at GM have retired this year, so we went to a couple retirement parties in September. The Cami Assembly plant opened in 1989, which is when I started, so this year many of the people who started working there at the beginning reached their 30 years and are eligible to retire. Many have retired already and quite a few more over the next year or so.

Well it’s a long post but i think that covers our summer and fall at home and about.

We have tentative plans to head south earlier this year. Last winter we didn’t leave home until the first week of January. This year were planning to head out November 23rd or thereabouts. Kim has a busy week and a half ahead of her and we’re planning to have early Christmas here this weekend, and if all goes well and we have a good weather window we’ll be on our way. Once we get back to travelling again I’ll try to keep everyone updated. But those of you who follow the blog know I’m a bit of a procrastinator 🙂 I’ll try to do better ;).

A last note before I close this post. Many of you know who George and Sue Yates are. Some know them personally and some may know of them because we speak of them a lot with our friends. We met George and Sue a year and a half ago at Rock Glen. We knew they were fulltime RV’ers and we had lots of questions for them about RVing. They were very gracious to share their knowledge with us. In many ways they’ve kinda been our RVing mentors. We have since become very good friends. We always look forward to spending time with them whenever we’re camped at the same location. We’ve been looking forward to spending another winter with them in southwest Arizona. George has been recently diagnosed with cancer and this year they will not be travelling to the southwest as usual. We did get a chance to visit with George and Sue before we headed out to Sarah’s house. We had a great visit and George was feeling pretty good. Was very nice to see the both of them before we head south. George and Sue, we’re going to miss our times together in the South. Take care of yourself, George, and we’re praying for you.