I have been having lots of fun traveling and visiting friends and exploring several state and National Parks. I left home and stopped a few times to spend the night while I drove north to visit friends. My first official stop was in northwest South Carolina to see one of my fire chief friends and another friend David. I spent a few days with them and David let me stay in his mechanic shop garage at night where I was safe and plugged into electricity. I left there and drove over the Smoky Mountains which was a really beautiful experience however, not sure my camper van engine and transmission liked it very much. I also drove through some severe heavy rainstorms. I then headed towards Tennessee, but drove through part of North Carolina to get there evidently since I saw a welcome to North Carolina sign.
I stopped in Chuckey, Tennessee near Johnson City and spent a few days with my friend Glenn and his wife Jane and it was really nice to have time with them and watching the beautiful scenery from their back porch and eating fresh figs we picked off their tree. I also got to go to a picnic in Tennessee that Glenn told me about where I met lots of his friends and got to share my story at their picnic. Nice to share and have an in person experience. Jane and I drove around to do a bit of hiking and we also went to Davey Crockett State Park and saw the cabin he was born in and the area surrounding it. We walked along the river and in the sand above the stream we kept finding small shells in the sand which was about 30 feet from the water and on higher ground. Also, it reminded me of when I was a young girl I loved Davey Crockett, I had a brown outfit with brown plastic fringe and a fake coonskin hat, and a white towel with Davey Crockett on it and I remember singing the song about him. So it was a nice memory to be reminded of. Also, as we walked along a different stream in the park we saw lots of Canadian geese standing in the rapids enjoying the water and wind. Here is a link to the pictures I took with my camera at Davey Crockett State Park https://photos.app.goo.gl/u6fdsqj7gbuVfjVU7 For some reason I am not able to add pictures to the album so I created another album with the pictures I took on my phone. https://photos.app.goo.gl/xapjdFH5yM7pBS2q6
Next I stopped in Kingsport, Tennessee, to see my friend Stephen at his office. I left there and headed towards my friend Vanessa in Maryland. I wanted to see a few others in Virginia on my way to Maryland but they were busy so maybe another time. I eventually go to my friend Vanessa’s house and parked in their driveway which is on an incline. I tried to get level on some boards but I wasn’t able to get it level so we decided to wait until her husband Brian got home. Brian helped to level my camper van but he did it the easy way. He has a hydrolic jack so he jacked up each corner and slid boards under the tires until all sides were level. I would not have been able to get it done any other way. Each tire needed a different number of boards to be level. Then we plugged it into electricity which has been great. It has been chilly and rainy for several days and my body doesn’t like 40 and 50 degree temperatures, especially when it was raining. Thankfully, I can use my little space heater at night to stay warm and also I have warm clothes and blankets. Vanessa and Brian offered that I could stay in their guest room but I felt better staying my camper van where I have everything I need and since I am up late I don’t want to disturb them since they get up early for work. Years ago, I gave Vanessa the first quilt I ever made. It’s queen size and entirely stitched and quilted by hand and it’s in different shades and patterns of purple. She has it on the bed in the guest room and it looks really nice and it’s warm since I used a special batting inside for warmth. Will try to post a picture of it when I attempt to add pictures to this story.
One of my friends drove about 90 minutes to come visit me and we went to Antietam National Park where the deadliest Civil War battle was fought. On the way there we passed a pumpkin patch which neither of us ever saw before. Right next to it was a fenced in pen with a lot of cows and there was a shed which had a sign over it saying Maternity Ward. We stopped and took pictures and I will try to get some pictures inserted into this story soon. I have to figure out how to insert pictures there was a change to how I update my stories. Here is a link to pictures I took with my camera at Antietam. https://photos.app.goo.gl/kwnXm9LyWkqgHmZH8 Here is a link to pictures I took at Antietam with my phone. https://photos.app.goo.gl/bNF8mWEVQkrHJsTD6
After visiting the Antietam scenic tour through the path of the war, and climbing the tower, and visiting the visitor center and National Cemetery we spent the night in a motel room and the next day drove to Gettysburg where my friend Brian drove down about an hour to spend three hours with us going through the National Park and museum, cyclorama which was amazing, and had lunch before he had to leave. Carol and I spent the night in another motel room in a different city and the room number was the same as the previous motel room. It was raining when we woke up on Sunday morning and drove back to Vanessa’s house. Here is a link to the pictures I took with my camera at Gettysburg. https://photos.app.goo.gl/2JvRwfiUm8Pf42mZ9 Here is a link to pictures I took with my phone. https://photos.app.goo.gl/QiisskDGbG8Rxvis8
I have been teaching Vanessa how to make homemade pasta, crackers, naan bread and other things. It’s been great fun baking and cooking together. They love the chocolate, chocolate chip biscotti that we made. We also made lasagna with the fresh pasta and another night we made spaghetti and made meatballs to go with the pasta. We have also made cinnamon raisin bread, wheat thin crackers, cookies, chocolate cheesecake cupcakes. I even got Brian to help with the biscotti, and I think he really liked learning how it’s made. The other day we went to the farm where Vanessa has two horses, and she goes twice a day to take care of them. We saw deer and gophers while there. In the back yard here one day was a red tail hawk on a log on the back property line. It had something it was eating, some small animal we think. Later that afternoon I went to see if I could tell what it was, but there was not really anything left to identify it, only a few bones perhaps a skull? Also, that day on top of a tower in the distance we could see an American Eagle. We used binoculars to watch it and later on we saw it and the hawk flying. Vanessa says the eagles and hawks come often, and we also see deer and some small animals like rabbits and squirrels which their dog Elsa loves to chase. She has a collar on that only lets her go so far so the deer and other animals are safe and I think they know it but still watch to make sure nothing comes close to them. The property is surrounded by woods and there are houses nearby and across the street, but it’s very quiet and private. Trees and woods separate the neighbors.
When I was in Albuquerque a few years ago, I got new sewer hose that was two 10 foot sections but never used it and it would not fit in the one section mounted under my camper van. I asked Brian if we could get something to mount underneath to hold these two new sections and he found some ready made specially made sewer hose cases and they will fit in the space where the one already is. He had to order a few brackets to do it but it will be nice when this is completed. Sometimes one 10 foot section is not enough to reach the sewer dump at a location.
As always, I pack way too much stuff. Most of it I don’t use but I never know what conditions I will be in, or if I will have electricity, etc. Being home for so long I got used to cooking almost all my food from scratch. So, I took my small Instapot, my electric skillet, air fryer oven, butane stove, induction cooktop, a few pots, and lots of other things like medical supplies, some food, tools, clothes for different temperatures, etc. Since space is limited I found ways to use unused space like on a wall inside my back door I hung a shoe bag with lots of pockets and used tacks to hold the sides to the wall since the 3 hooks at the top had a lot of weight on them and the bag was not attached to the wall except at the top with the 3 hooks. It seems to be working okay and holding. I have several long flat totes with other things I would use and have the no slip rubber shelving liner between them so hopefully they won’t slide much. I did have to make a sharp turn or two or go over some really bumpy surface and I had two landslides so I stopped and restacked the containers and so far no more mishaps.
I may be leaving here on Sunday or Monday depending on when Brian has time to install the cases under my camper and driving it to make sure everything is okay. I am hoping and praying that coming over the steep mountain ranges did not cause any damage to the transmission which is only a few years old, I think 3 years, but not driven much and in Florida it is on level ground, not really steep, high mountain ranges for long distances. Also, the weather forecast for the next several days is a low in the 40’s at night. The little space heater keeps it about 60 degrees inside but it takes a while to warm up because I don’t leave it on when I am not in it and I am in the house most of the day until late at night either baking or visiting with them. They seem to like watching movies and television so I have watched I think 3 or 4 movies or shows and they also played the first two episodes of NCIS which is the only show I watch when home. We did watch a sort of documentary I wanted to see which is based on a true story of a man who was a diver and an octopus and he became sort of friends. It was a really touching and beautiful story. We also watched The Shack which I had seen with some friends in Texas several years ago. It gives lots of food for thought and seeing things differently.
Yesterday, my friend Mickey from Delaware drove almost two hours to see me and we went to a really nice restaurant for lunch and go to have some time together. It was great once again to meet in person friends I have only met online.
I have pictures on my phone that I will download to my computer then add to the albums. Most of them are similar to what is already there.