Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Iowa, Council Bluffs - Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - Horseshoe Casino

Our main focus for today is buying a month’s worth of groceries before we park in Sioux Falls, SD tomorrow.  We know we will be there through Labor Day in order to get all of the paperwork done to establish our new state of residency.  This is kind of a test for us to see whether or not we can plan and carry enough food with us for a month or more and still be able to eat as we normally do.  Being able to do this keeps us from having to make frequent grocery trips on the bike when we are parked for long periods of time.  Keep in mind that we don’t usually eat out, so I plan on being able to get 40 breakfasts, 40 lunches and 40 suppers from what we bought today.  We also have to factor in toiletries, cleaning supplies and paper products.

We headed north out of Kansas City this morning.  The trip through Missouri was filled with fields of corn and soybeans.  For a while the fields were planted on rolling hills-very pretty.  I lost the best picture of the day when I forgot to put the data card back in the camera.  It perfectly captured the rolling terrain, the sun and shadows were just right to accent it.  Then the fields turned to huge flat fields you couldn’t see the end of.  At that point Highway 29 seemed to be in a flat valley between two hilly areas.  This corn is taller than it looks, the highway is raised above the field.

When we crossed into Iowa I was amazed by the number of small to medium lakes and swampy areas.  To me the area wasn’t very pretty, there were a lot of bushes and trees that were leafless and dead.  Things just didn’t look as vibrant as they did in Missouri.
Council Bluffs, Iowa was our destination for today, just across the river from Omaha, Nebraska.  That will leave us with about 180 miles to get into Sioux Falls tomorrow.

We found the local Wal-Mart and made our purchases.


Needless to say, the freezer, fridge and pantry are filled to capacity.  I was surprised that we only had to store 3 bottles of juice and some paper towels and toilet tissue underneath in the “basement” storage area.  After putting all of that away I’m too tired to go out and take pictures of where we are this evening.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Missouri, Kansas City - Tuesday, July 30, 2013 - Worlds of Fun Village RV Park

Our trip today was about 250 miles.  We picked this park not because we wanted to go to an amusement park, but because it was reasonable and right on our way. 

It a very nice park, this is us.

This is the view from our site this evening.


We walked over to get a closer look at the roller coaster – there is no way you would get me on that thing! 


Greg gilled some steaks this evening to go with baked potatoes.  It’s in the low 80’s with a nice breeze blowing so we are sitting on the patio watching TV and updating the blog.  Not getting too involved in anything else right now since this is just a one night stop.
I’ve got a list of things I want to get accomplished once we are settled in Sioux Falls.  I may have retired, but I still have my “lists”.  In fact, I have a major list going this evening.  Tomorrow we are going to get at least a month’s worth of groceries in one stop (might take more than one cart).  If I plan correctly, we will only have to make runs to get milk or fresh produce on the bike while we are in Sioux Falls.

The jury is still out on this mattress topper we bought that was supposed to keep me cooler.  According to the salesman, the optimum sleeping temperature for your body is 77 degrees.  We think that is too warm.  I may be staying a little cooler, but now Greg is too hot.  We are thinking of doubling it up on my side.  We have 30 days to decide if it is a keeper.

Missouri, St. Louis, Monday, July 29, 2013 - Casino Queen RV Park

We left Nashville early this morning and ran into a lot of this

Even at that we were only about 45 minutes behind schedule.  The drive today was a little over 300 miles and that is probably about as far as we want to go in a day.  The Casino Queen is a hotel and small casino with an RV park for guests.  A nice park but no amenities (they want you to gamble).  This is the view from our site this evening.


We decided to opt for a dinner out so we called security at the casino and they sent a car to pick us up.  Dinner was very good and then, of course, we couldn’t resist going to the casino for a while.  Needless to say, we are on our way to Kansas City tomorrow - $30 poorer.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Tennessee, Nashville - Sunday, July 28, 2013 - Two Rivers Campground

The weather was beautiful here today – mid 70s and low humidity.  We had originally thought we would go see Andrew Jackson’s home, The Hermitage.  But, we decided to hang around home instead, we’ll save the Hermitage for the next time through.  Greg listened to the NASCAR race and got the bike loaded and secured to travel tomorrow.  I did some laundry and made a dip for vegetables.  I had to get out some spices and that reminded me that I had mentioned my “spice rack” sometime previously but I didn’t show it to you.

This space is about 18 inches wide by 3 inches deep.  It is on the backside of the entertainment center that is outside.  It is under the dining table so not the most convenient space, but I had to use it for something.  Greg attached thin steel sheets I got at Hobby Lobby to the back wall and I got magnetic tins from the office supply section at Wal-Mart to store the spices.  It is hidden by louvered doors.  Works great.
We’ll be leaving Two Rivers Campground in the morning, headed for St. Louis.  We’ll be stopping at one of the casinos that has an RV campground and then head for Kansas City the next day.  Unless we hit it big and then plans might change.  But, I’m pretty sure we’ll see Kansas City on Tuesday.

I have a feeling we’ll be coming back here, it’s been a nice place to stay.  This is the view from our site.

This is us, Greg soaking up the sunshine, telling me not to get run over since I was out in the drive taking the picture.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Tennessee, Nashville - Saturday, July 27, 2013 - Grand Old Opry and Opryland Hotel

We’ve moved to Two Rivers Campground which is about two miles from the Grand Old Opry.  It’s a very nice campground, we’ll be staying here until Monday morning.  I’ll take some pictures for tomorrow’s post.  Last night we went to the show at the Grand Old Opry.  It was awesome, but you really have to like old country music.  The show was two hours long and some of the performers were Jim Ed Brown, John Conlee, Jean Shepard, Bill Anderson, the Grascals and Larry Gatlin.  Jim Ed Brown said he is 79, but his voice is still beautiful – I could have listened to him all night.  Jean Shepard sang “Tennessee Waltz” and I could remember my Dad singing that when I was a little girl.
Right now we are sitting on our patio listening to a country singer performing on the porch of the community building here in the campground, he's pretty good.  We are only a couple of sites away so we can just sit in our lawn chairs and enjoy.  The temperature is 77 degrees with a nice breeze blowing, no humidity – can’t get much better than this.

In case everyone thought that the only thing I can cook is desserts, I thought I would post what we are having for supper this evening.  Getting ready to stir-fry chicken and vegetables.  I tried fixing ham loaf in the crock pot last night while we were gone to the Opry, didn’t turn out too bad.  I had to guess on the time and I guessed wrong so it was a little overdone, but still edible-it will be better next time.

We went to the Opryland Hotel this afternoon.  The size of this place is just overwhelming.  It’s way too big to get a good outside picture unless you are in an airplane!  I’ve stayed here a few times for conventions when I was on an expense account but it amazes me every time I see it.
There are nooks and crannies all over where people can sit and enjoy the beautiful plants.  All of these pictures are taken inside the hotel.

Imagine sitting on your patio and looking down on all of this.
Restaurants and bars are surrounded by trees and plants

I’ve grown a lot of these plants in the past, but they never did look this good.  See the little red pepper plants?
Maybe I needed a 40 foot waterfall.

Or a canal

Orchids are everywhere

And bananas

After we walked through all of the hotel gardens we headed over the Opry Mills.  This is a huge outlet mall, I’m guessing more than twice the size of the Edinburgh Outlet mall I am familiar with in Indiana.  Traffic was backed up for as far as you could see to get into this place.  Once we got in parking was another problem.  We found a spot next to the roadway coming in and were taking off our helmets and getting ready to head in when a car on the roadway blew a tire and the hubcap flew off hitting the car right next to us.  Somebody was looking out for us today – I think that thing would have hurt, it was moving!
We have a king size Sleep Number bed in the RV and I’ve been wanting a mattress cover that is supposed to keep you cool at night.  I’m going to be eighty before I get over these hot flashesJ.  Well, we found one – should have seen Greg getting that thing stuffed into the storage area on the motorcycle.  I would have taken pictures, but I don’t think he would have appreciated that.  Its times like that he probably wonders if I’m worth it.  I’ll let you know if this thing works.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tennessee, Nashville - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - Downtown Nashville

We cleaned house and then just hung out yesterday.  I finished the book, Beach Music by Pat Conroy – thanks Robyn for sharing it with me, it was a very good book.  I’ll have to look for more of his books.  I made these “Oaty Rhubarb Streusel Bars” because we still had rhubarb leftover.  I got the recipe off of and it turned out really good.  You’ll note that we sampled them before I got a picture.  We finished up the evening with the NASCAR Truck Race from Eldora, OH.  They were dirt racing and it was really good.


The weather was beautiful today.  We headed into Nashville early and our first stop was Lincoln Technical College.  Greg graduated from there over 45 years ago and believe it or not it has changed some.  The campus is much larger now and the name has changed, it used to be Nashville Auto Diesel College before Lincoln Technical College bought it.  A lot of the buildings are the same but have been updated – it looks like a very busy school.
From there we went to Centennial Park, it was built in 1897 as part of the 100th anniversary of Tennessee becoming a state.  This is a great park, you need to visit if you get to Nashville.  There is a replica of the Parthenon there.  I couldn’t figure out whether it was built actual sized or scaled down, but it was huge.

We didn’t walk through all of the gardens but the ones we saw were magnificent.

We (I) were getting hungry so we split a hamburger from one of the food trucks available.

We noticed something was being set up around the Parthenon and asked a park ranger about it.  They were preparing to shoot a segment of the TV show “Nashville” there tonight.  Wow, what a lot of preparation goes into that.  Semis filled with sound equipment and others filled with food were being unloaded.


When we got back home we checked it out on line and found that they were advertising for extras in the local newspaper.  It is a non-paying job and they have to be there from 7p.m. to 3 a.m.  But evidently they didn’t have any trouble finding enough people because they made a later post that indicated they could no longer take any more names.  
From the park we went downtown Nashville to look around.  I was amazed at all of the bars, big and small where entertainers were looking to make it big.  Printers Alley was where they used to go to be discovered, I think there are other more prime spots now.


We saw the Ryman Auditorium and Tootsie’s Orchard Lounge
and then went on to the Country Music Hall of Fame.  We could have probably spent more time in the Hall of Fame but our time in our parking space was running out.
Supper was simple tonight – but really good – Soup with hot French bread dipped in garlic mushroom olive oil and a glass of wine.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tennessee, Lebanon - Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - Countryside Resort

We’ve moved out of North Carolina and are starting to make our way to Sioux Falls, SD.  I really enjoyed what I saw of North Carolina.  For the last couple of days we haven’t done anything too exciting so I decided not to post anything on the blog.  On Sunday we left Pride Campground in Maggie Valley and headed back to Charlotte so we could get our air conditioner fixed first thing Monday morning.  Pride was a nice campground, especially when you get a site that looks out over the river, but one problem was a lack of water pressure.  We decided not to try to do laundry in the coach while we were there so when we got back to Charlotte we had a week of laundry to do on Sunday.

On Monday morning we were at the dealership for our 8:00 a.m. appointment and they got us signed in.  Lunch time came and they still weren’t done so we ordered a pizza from Papa Johns and set on their porch swing and ate lunch.  Right at 5:00 they finished up and we were able to head back to the campground.  Boy that makes for a long day just sitting and waiting.  I had a book to read and Greg napped but we were exhausted by the time we got back to the campground and got hooked back up.

This morning we left Charlotte early and drove about 400 miles to our new location at Countryside Resort in Lebanon, TN.  “Resort” may not be fitting; “campground” would work better.  It’s an ok country campground with full hook ups, a nice pool and some other amenities like a tennis court that need some work.  The weather and the scenery was good and the ride was uneventful.


We plan on hanging around home tomorrow and then take off on the bike Thursday and Friday to do some sightseeing around Nashville.  On Friday we are going to move into a campground near the Grand Old Opry and see the Friday night show at the Opry – looking forward to that.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

North Carolina, Waynesville - Saturday, July 20, 2013 - Trip to Camping World

We decided this morning to take about an hour bike trip to Camping World.  We needed a couple of things and we didn’t have much else planned for today and the weather was looking clear this morning with some showers headed in later this afternoon.  We would have plenty of time to get there and back in the sunshine.

I might mention that we have had relatively beautiful weather this week.  Not nearly as hot as it has been in most of the rest of the nation and the humidity hasn’t been bad either.  Those pesky afternoon showers that last just a few minutes most of the time have been the only downside.  Today however, the weather threw us for a loop.


Yes, we got drowned.  Just as the as we were leaving Camping World we saw lightning in the distance – maybe we could make it.  It didn’t happen, and there is never an overpass when you need one.  We were getting pelted pretty good and it was hard to see so we took the next exit.  Naturally, there were no services at this exit, but there was a “park and ride” area with a shelter so we headed there, bike and all.  When we got there we found that the shelter was metal framed and the thunder and lightning were getting closer.  But, it did seem a better bet than out on the highway.  Not too long after we got there, we were joined by another guy.  He was only about five minutes from where he wanted to go but just couldn’t see to go any further.  Next we were joined by a couple who were headed to the “tail of the dragon”.

It wasn’t long until we could head home.  We got the bike loaded and a few things packed ready to leave tomorrow to head back to Charlotte to get the middle air conditioner repaired.  From there we’ll be going to Sioux Falls, SD until after Labor Day.

Friday, July 19, 2013

North Carolina, Waynesville - Friday, July 19, 2013 - Nice Day to Ride

We took off this morning into Waynesville to find the Best Buy store.  When we got to the edge of town we remembered that today was the International Parade for Folkmoot.  I think I read that Folkmoot is in its 30th year.  It started when one of the men in a square dance group that went overseas to see some of the folk dances from different countries decided that the Maggie Valley area would be a good place to gather international dancers.  It’s evidently grown to be a really big event.  The streets were lined with people by 11:30 and the parade didn’t start until 1:00.  What I want to see, the dancing, doesn’t take place until next weekend and we'll be headed to Sioux Falls, SD by then.

I didn’t take the camera with me this morning, after all what was going to be that interesting at Best Buy?  But I missed a really good photo op of a giant potato.  Obviously it wasn’t real, but it was huge – hauled into town on its own flatbed trailer with oversized load signs on it.  The tractor pulling it had “spuddy buddy” written on the side.  Greg had his cell phone with him, but I didn’t think it was a good idea to try to rummage around in his pockets to find it while we were on the bike.

We found Best Buy and got a protective cover for the new phone and talked with one of the guys there about what we needed to do to get our Sirius radio hooked up.  Rather than try to get back through town, we took an alternate route back home.

When we got home, I was going to make a peach pie but I decided on a rustic peach tart instead – turned out pretty good.  Our peaches were getting ripe faster than we could eat them fresh.

Storms are coming in again this evening, but up until 6:30 or so it was really nice to be outside.  We managed to get hamburgers grilled and green tomatoes fried before the storms started.  I fry the tomatoes outside because I deep fry them in beer batter and I don’t want to get grease splatters all over everything inside.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

North Carolina, Maggie Valley - Thursday, July 18, 2013 - Wheels Through Time Museum

The Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley definitely has a lot to look at!  Not only are there a lot of old Harley Davidsons (and parts) there are all kinds of other motorcycles and cars, posters, magazines and transportation related memorabilia.  If you decide to visit, it is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  There is a $10 entrance fee.  But that gets you in for all day and it’s a pretty interesting place.

There were only 17 of these Harley Davidson WWII Shaft Drive Trikes produced and this one has serial number 1.  It came from a Harley dealer in Hammond, IN.


Steve McQueen purchased this 1917 Harley Davidson Model J from a Hollywood prop house.  The trailer is also WWI vintage and was used to transport carrier pigeons in the days before radio communication.


I thought this electric Harley was pretty unusual.

This is a view from upstairs, it doesn’t begin to show all there is to see here.


From the museum we headed into the local Verizon store.  Greg’s phone has been acting up so we went in for an overdue upgrade and a contract renewal.  It’s never as simple as it seems but the young man who waited on us was very helpful and knowledgeable.  After all was said and done I ended up with a new phone also (a very simple one) and a new phone number.  I’ll send the new number out in an e-mail.  I don’t have text availability but the cost for calls is less than the pay as you go plan I had and I have more minutes.  Having just one plan does simplify things.  All of Greg’s information is the same as before.
Our last stop was Ingles grocery store, this is a chain that is popular here in North Carolina.  We were looking for Nantahala sausage which was recommended to us by our friends Barbara and Anne.  We enjoyed some of this sausage when we had breakfast with them earlier in the week.  The sausage is made in Franklin, NC.  It is delivered to Ingles groceries once a week and I understand that if you don’t get there on Thursday you lose out.  We picked up 3 pounds, looking forward to having some for breakfast in the morning.  We were also happy to find sour cream and onion Pirate’s Booty.  We got hooked on Pirate’s Booty back in Indiana but could only find the white cheddar variety there.

We had more of our farmer’s market finds for supper this evening.  I put the green beans, new potatoes and ham in the crock pot and was planning to have it around 6:00 but it was smelling so good we ate at 5:00.  I have beer batter made so we can have the fried green tomatoes tomorrow night.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

North Carolina, Ashville - Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - Biltmore House

We weren’t as sore as we thought we might be after all that square dancing last night.  Our destination today was Biltmore House and Gardens – someplace I’ve wanted to see since I was a little girl. 
The ride into the estate is impressive, I can’t imagine what it would have been like in a horse drawn carriage.

Taking pictures inside the house is prohibited and since it started raining (surprise!) I didn’t get very many taken outside.

I can’t even begin to describe the magnificence of the house.  The ingenuity of the architecture and inner workings of the building are astounding especially considering it was built in the 1890’s.  There are 43 bathrooms with running water, an indoor swimming pool with underwater lighting and call buttons in every room for the guests to use to summon whatever they want from the kitchen at any hour.  There is even an elevator, but the walk up the grand staircase is beautiful.   We bought a book – I know, tourist trap, but it is a very good book and it shows all of the rooms we visited today and the gardens we were unable to visit because of all the thunder and lightning going on when we got to that part of the tour.  We were able to drive through the gardens on the way out so even though I didn’t get to walk through them, I did see them.
We enjoyed lunch at the Stable CafĂ©, so named because it is in the former stables.  If you get the opportunity to eat there, definitely get the sweet corn and bacon fritters with green tomato jam.  Those things are heavenly!

After lunch we were waiting around for the storm to pass before heading back home so we decided to tour the house again.  You can get in as many times as you want on your day pass.  With the nasty weather most of the other tourists took off so we practically had the house to ourselves.  It was nice to roam without being packed in with a lot of other people.  My only disappointment was that we couldn’t get out on the immense porch and sit during the storm.

We did get lucky and caught the calm between two storms to get back home nice and dry.  Another helping of rhubarb crisp ought to finish off the day nicely.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

North Carolina, Waynesville - Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - Pride RV Resort

We got up this morning and had our friend Anne’s banana bread with some of the fresh fruit we got yesterday at the farmer’s market.  Then we headed into Waynesville.  I wanted to check out the Christmas shop.  I’m looking for a tiny stable to go with a pewter nativity scene I have.  The figures are less than an inch tall so it has to be a small one to look right.  They didn’t have what I was looking for but they did have a Maggie Valley 2013 Santa ornament, so it wasn’t a wasted trip.
We stopped at the optometrist in town and they fixed Greg’s glasses.  He lost one of the screws that hold the frame together and we hadn’t had any luck in fixing it ourselves.  Then we went on to check out every shop on Main Street and stopped at one of the local microbreweries for lunch.  Since we were on the bike we didn’t sample any of their brews.

It was a beautiful day for being out on the bike.  The nice days have been so few and far between they are appreciated even more.  When we got back home I got that rhubarb crisp made.

After supper of grilled pork chops, corn on the cob and fruit salad we headed over to the community center here at the campground for square dancing.  We haven’t square danced since early May so I was afraid at least I would be a little rusty, but it came back to me.  We had a great time, but we are worn out.  The caller started at 7:30 and would call two tips (sets of dances) and then have a two minute break and start right back up with two more tips.  So, basically we danced for two hours straight.  After that we didn’t feel so bad about helping ourselves to the rhubarb crisp.

Monday, July 15, 2013

North Carolina, Waynesville - Monday, July 15, 2013 - Exploring the Smokies

We had so much fun today.  We took off on the bike once we figured the neighbors were up.  Starting up the Harley too early in the morning doesn’t make for good neighbors.  We still had one little neighbor that was “up in arms” about us moving around.  This little crawdad (spelling?) was looking for a fight.

The first stop was Barbara and Anne’s mountain cabin for breakfast on the deck looking out over the river.  What a way to start the morning!
From there they were kind enough to be our travel guides for the day, up and down the mountains and into quaint little towns we wouldn’t have had a clue existed.

Sliding Rock is amazing.  This is a natural rock formation that people line up to slide down.  The sliding was restricted to people over 16 because the water was running faster and deeper than usual today.  They looked like they were having as much fun as they would at an expensive water park and they could do this all day for $1.00 per person.

Looking Glass was our next stop.  A beautiful waterfall you can normally see through and walk behind, but today the water was running stronger here also.  Still a beautiful sight to behold.

Next we headed for the Blue Grass Parkway.  This would be a wonderful ride on the bike – lots of curves and breathtaking scenery.  Right now there are a few areas that have some minor mud/gravel slides onto the road that might not be a nice surprise.

They promised we were going to the large farmer’s market – they weren’t kidding!  Unfortunately, I got so engrossed in buying fantastic produce, I forgot to take good pictures.  This is what we came back with from the market.

We were getting pretty hungry at this point so we headed into the Frog Level of Waynesville.  We went to a local deli (I’m going to have to get better at documenting the names of the places where we eat).  We ate lunch on the deck overlooking a rapidly flowing creek.  Eating and water in the mountains – we are getting into a wonderful pattern here.

After lunch we checked out just a few of the many interesting stores in Waynesville.  Mast General Store had a massive display of all kinds of candy downstairs which we couldn’t pass up.  Then we went to Steeplechase English Toffee where we picked up half a pound of the most delicious toffee I’ve ever tasted.  Then, as if that wasn’t enough sweet stuff for us, Barbara and Anne sent home cookies and banana bread.


Our last stop before heading back to Barbara and Anne’s cabin was a self-sufficient organic farm that belongs to some of their friends.  We met Kathy (sorry, I’m not sure of the spelling of her name) who is a wealth of knowledge about plants and living in harmony with nature.  Lots of things to see there, but one of the most interesting was a mother peacock and her four babies, one of them was white.  Kathy told us that they have to wait until the white peacocks are at least two years old to see what color their tail feathers will be.

Kathy shared some of her rhubarb and squash with us along with a jar of blackberry jam.  Tomorrow night we’ll be having rhubarb crisp.

When we headed back to the motor coach the bike was loaded down with all of our goodies from the farmer’s market, candy stores, and Kathy’s farm.  We are going to be eating good for days to come.  For supper we had leftover shrimp and bread from our wonderful supper last night (I got the recipe!) along with cottage cheese and the purple Cherokee tomato from the farmer’s market.  I really like North Carolina.