Pennsylvania Part II: East Stroudsburg

Our second stop in The Keystone State was up north near the New Jersey line and Mount Pocono. The campground itself was the third worst we have stayed in. The owners had basically stopped caring about the place about twenty years ago, or so it seemed. Our electricity went off every 2 hours. We ran the generator when I did laundry, just to avoid power surges when the appliances were in full motion. The upside was that we had the place almost all to ourselves. We had a nice neighbor named Penny on the driver’s side, and no one else near us in any other direction. We took full advantage of our proximity to the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, taking the dogs on long hikes almost every day. We saw many beautiful waterfalls and other lush mountain scenery. We drove about an hour into New Jersey on Sunday evening to meet my cousin Kevin and his bride Claire for dinner in Morristown. It was a week of good exercise and bright night skies.

We asked if they could take a big rig. They said yes. We believed them. They assigned us a grass pad with no gravel or concrete. There had been lots of recent rains in the area. We sunk into the muddy ground before mike could even pull all the way into our spot. That is the first time we've been towed out of anywhere. Now, instead of asking the parks if they can take big rigs, our wording has changed a bit. The new question is "Do you have concrete or gravel pads"? Live and learn.

We asked if they could take a big rig. They said yes. We believed them. They assigned us a grass pad with no gravel or concrete. There had been lots of recent rains in the area. We sunk into the muddy ground before mike could even pull all the way into our spot. That is the first time we’ve been towed out of anywhere. Now, instead of asking the parks if they can take big rigs, our wording has changed a bit. The new question is “Do you have concrete or gravel pads”? Live and learn.

A view of the Delaware River Valley from our hike at Bushkill Falls.

A view of the Delaware River Valley from our hike at Bushkill Falls.

Mike spent most of his time during our waterfall hike looking for trout in the streams.

Mike spent most of his time during our waterfall hike looking for trout in the streams.

The dogs were mucho tired after our morning at Bushkill Falls.

The dogs were mucho tired after our morning at Bushkill Falls.

Waterfall selfie.

Waterfall selfie.

I love the noise and energy that you feel when standing so close to the rushing water.

I love the noise and energy that you feel when standing so close to the rushing water.

Sunset at the abandoned RV Park.

Sunset at the abandoned RV Park.

The little pond at Foxwood Family Campground provided some pretty scenery on our morning dog walks.

The little pond at Foxwood Family Campground provided some pretty scenery on our morning dog walks.

River Road runs along the Delaware River in The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. So pretty.

River Road runs along the Delaware River in The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. So pretty.

The McDade Recreational trail provided glimpses of the Delaware River along its path.

The McDade Recreational trail provided glimpses of the Delaware River along its path.

One of the benefits of staying at an ultra crappy campground where all utilities are on the blink...we had the place to ourselves.

One of the benefits of staying at an ultra crappy campground where all utilities are on the blink…we had the place to ourselves.

My friend Janet thought I was being a bit harsh when I called the place dumpy. When I took this photo and texted it to her, she realized I was actually being optimistic.

My friend Janet thought I was being a bit harsh when I called the place dumpy. When I took this photo and texted it to her, she realized I was actually being optimistic.

There wasn't too much to see in the form of restaurants or shopping in the Poconos, but we didn't mind. We spent most of our time on hikes through the wilderness. The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is a beautiful national resource.

There wasn’t too much to see in the form of restaurants or shopping in the Poconos, but we didn’t mind. We spent most of our time on hikes through the wilderness. The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is a beautiful national resource.

One of the corn fields along the McDade Recreational Trail.

One of the corn fields along the McDade Recreational Trail.

Buttermilk Falls was right down the road from our camp .

Buttermilk Falls was right down the road from our camp .

This is either Bride's Maids Falls, or Bridal Veil Falls. There were just so many to see that day!

This is either Bride’s Maids Falls, or Bridal Veil Falls. There were just so many to see that day!

More gnarly roots and rocks.

More gnarly roots and rocks.

I love all the exposed tree roots along the river bank.

I love all the exposed tree roots along the river bank.

 

 

 

Pennsylvania Part I: Denver

We left the Walmart parking lot near Baltimore’s BWI Airport on a clear and dry morning without a roof or oil leak (we hoped). Both of us were extremely relieved to be back on the Lower 48 in 48 Tour. We happily crossed Maryland off the list and drove north to start our month in Pennsylvania. Our first stop was Lancaster County – a world of farmlands, antiques, and Amish folks. Aside from one daytrip to Philadelphia, we mostly relaxed at home. I spent a lot of time driving along the back roads looking for Amish people like they were aliens, and stopping at every Farmer’s Market I stumbled upon. Mike played golf one afternoon. We played backgammon during happy hour. On Saturday night we lived large and had dinner at a local smorgasbord. It was a fun and low-key stop.

A typical vista in Amish Country.

A typical vista in Amish Country.

The Philadelphia City Hall looks more like a foreign embassy or the capitol building in another country.

The Philadelphia City Hall looks more like a foreign embassy or the capitol building in another country.

After we made it to the Art Museum in Philly, we were pondering what else to see during our short visit. Then it dawned on me... the LOVE sculpture was somewhere in the city. We had stopped into a restaurant called Water Works for a quick libation, so I got the scoop from the bartender. We paid our bill and followed his directions on a trek through the city center. It was exactly where he said it would be!

After we made it to the Art Museum in Philly, we were pondering what else to see during our short visit. Then it dawned on me… the LOVE sculpture was somewhere in the city. We had stopped into a restaurant called Water Works for a quick libation, so I got the scoop from the bartender. We paid our bill and followed his directions on a trek through the city center. It was exactly where he said it would be!

Almost every single person on those steps was channeling Rocky that afternoon.

Almost every single person on those steps was channeling Rocky that afternoon.

There are tons of majestic statues and sculptures all across downtown Philly.

There are tons of majestic statues and sculptures all across downtown Philly.

This was the view from the parking lot of an Amish Farmer's Market that I found on a little country back road. If I had an actual house with a patio or porch, you can bet most of those hanging baskets would have been purchased and transferred to the back of my Honda!

This was the view from the parking lot of an Amish Farmer’s Market that I found on a little country back road. If I had an actual house with a patio or porch, you can bet most of those hanging baskets would have been purchased and transferred to the back of my Honda!

I felt a bit like a cheezy paparazzi lurking in my car trying to take a photo of some 'authentic amish people' from a distance. They draw lots of tourism dollars from visitors in the region, but I wonder how they like living in a fishbowl as they try to maintain their simple lives.

I felt a bit like a cheezy paparazzi lurking in my car trying to take a photo of some ‘authentic amish people’ from a distance. They draw lots of tourism dollars from visitors in the region, but I wonder how they like living in a fishbowl as they try to maintain their simple lives.

I also wonder how these beautiful horses like sharing their carts on the road with cars, trucks, and loud motorcycles.

I also wonder how these beautiful horses like sharing their carts on the road with cars, trucks, and loud motorcycles.

Since we started the Lower 48 in 48 Tour, we've road signs telling us to watch for moose, bear (in Florida), deer, and now Amish.

Since we started the Lower 48 in 48 Tour, we’ve seen road signs telling us to watch for moose, bear (in Florida), deer, and now Amish.

The parking lots in larger commercial areas have stripes for cars, and shelters for horses and their carts.

The parking lots in larger commercial areas have stripes for cars, and shelters for horses and their carts.

A couple of our buddies from the neighborhood tavern back in Woodbine told us we MUST go eat at the Sugar Maple Smorgasbord if we made it to Lancaster County. This is one attraction we could have skipped. It was owned by an Amish family, but most of the employees were just regular people. The food was okay. It was kind of like going to a casino buffet - but definitely not the Bellagio!

A couple of our buddies from the neighborhood tavern back in Woodbine told us we MUST go eat at the Sugar Maple Smorgasbord if we made it to Lancaster County. This is one attraction we could have skipped. It was owned by an Amish family, but most of the employees were just regular people. The food was okay. It was kind of like going to a casino buffet – but definitely not the Bellagio!

I would prefer to shop at a Farmer's Market, as opposed to a grocery store, on any day of the week.

I would prefer to shop at a Farmer’s Market, as opposed to a grocery store, on any day of the week.

Almost every farm in Lancaster County had a little self service produce stand by the side of the road.

Almost every farm in Lancaster County had a little self service produce stand by the side of the road.

If I took a picture of every farm house I fell in love with on this stop, you would be extremely bored with my comments.

If I took a picture of every farm house I fell in love with on this stop, you would be extremely bored with my comments.

Friday night fun = a few games of backgammon while watching all the other campers arrive.

Friday night fun = a few games of backgammon while watching all the other campers arrive.

Our campground was adjacent to a regular neighborhood, and there were houses behind our spot. However, the thick trees between us still made it feel like we were out in the wilderness.

Our campground was adjacent to a regular neighborhood, and there were houses behind our spot. However, the thick trees between us still made it feel like we were out in the wilderness.

Maryland Part III: Displacement

It is a good thing that our first impression of Maryland was positive, because our last week in that state was completely frustrating. We needed repairs to the interior and to the engine. We had to move out for the work to be done and the logistics became very convoluted as time passed.

We left the KOA on Sunday, July 6th, and drove the Monaco to the front parking lot of the Custom Coach location. We stayed there overnight because we wanted be there when they opened at 8:00 AM, without battling morning rush hour traffic. It wasn't in the nicest neighborhood, so we stayed inside with the door locked and window shades drawn. We only went outside a few times when the dogs needed a potty break.

We left the KOA on Sunday, July 6th, and drove the Monaco to the front parking lot of the Custom Coach location. We stayed there overnight because we wanted be there when they opened at 8:00 AM, without battling morning rush hour traffic. It wasn’t in the nicest neighborhood, so we stayed inside with the door locked and window shades drawn. We only went outside a few times when the dogs needed a potty break.

Since we were displaced while the work on the coach was completed, we rented a carriage house through vrbo.com. The location was in a suburb north of Washington D.C., and the online description and photos made it seem like a quaint option for us. However,  words and photos can be deceiving. The place was a total pit. I think they furnished it with pieces they pulled out of a dumpster. The air conditioning control was in the main house, so we had no control of our own interior climate. The weather temperatures were very mild that week, but since there were no screens on the windows, we could not even open them for fresh air. The bed was so soft, it was like sleeping in a hammock. Even though they said the kitchen was fully equipped, there wasn't even a coffee maker. The only redeeming factor was that we could watch deer graze in the yard each evening. We were there from Monday until Friday.

Since we were displaced while the work on the coach was completed, we rented a carriage house through vrbo.com. The location was in a suburb north of Washington D.C., and the online description and photos made it seem like a quaint option for us. However, words and photos can be deceiving. The place was a total pit. I think they furnished it with pieces they pulled out of a dumpster. The air conditioning control was in the main house, so we had no control of our own interior climate. The weather temperatures were very mild that week, but since there were no screens on the windows, we could not even open them for fresh air. The bed was so soft, it was like sleeping in a hammock. Even though they said the kitchen was fully equipped, there wasn’t even a coffee maker. The only redeeming factor was that we could watch deer graze in the yard each evening. We were there from Monday until Friday.

We spent most of our time during the vrbo stay waiting on the shop to call (or not call), and let us know when the repairs would be complete. We did get out one day and take the metro into D.C. so we could visit the National Air & Space Museum.

We spent most of our time during the vrbo stay waiting on the shop to call (or not call), and let us know when the repairs would be complete. We did get out one day and take the metro into D.C. so we could visit the National Air & Space Museum.

My absolute favorite thing in the museum was this record that went up in each of the Voyager flights. It was something that could be shared with any other possible alien civilizations to tell them about Planet Earth and its inhabitants. The scientists were so smart, they even included instructions on how to build a phonograph in order to play the record. Brilliant!

My absolute favorite thing in the museum was this record that went up in each of the Voyager flights. It was something that could be shared with any other possible alien civilizations to tell them about Planet Earth and its inhabitants. The scientists were so smart, they even included instructions on how to build a phonograph in order to play the record. Brilliant!

Since I tend to drag Mikey to every imaginable botanical garden we encounter, I figured he would appreciate spending an afternoon learning about a subject he is actually interested in!

Since I tend to drag Mikey to every imaginable botanical garden we encounter, I figured he would appreciate spending an afternoon learning about a subject he is actually interested in!

It is funny to me that a sophisticated scientific tool like the Hubble Telescope looks like it is covered in Reynolds Wrap.

It is funny to me that a sophisticated scientific tool like the Hubble Telescope looks like it is covered in Reynolds Wrap.

We finally got the Monaco out of the Custom Coach location, and decided we should have an oil leak in the engine examined while we were already displaced. We picked it up from the first shop and drove it a few miles down the road to deliver it to a Cummins repair shop. Our reservation at the VRBO location had expired, and we could not extend our stay because they had already booked their next guests. We packed up all our gear (including the contents of our fridge and freezer), and moved into the Marriott Towne Suites down the street from the NSA complex in Annapolis Junction.

We finally got the Monaco out of the Custom Coach location, and decided we should have an oil leak in the engine examined while we were already displaced. We picked it up from the first shop and drove it a few miles down the road to deliver it to a Cummins repair shop. Our reservation at the VRBO location had expired, and we could not extend our stay because they had already booked their next guests. We packed up all our gear (including the contents of our fridge and freezer), and moved into the Marriott Towne Suites down the street from the NSA complex in Annapolis Junction.

A taqueria inside of a Shell Gas Station that was featured on Diner's, Drive-Ins and Dives happened to be just down the road from our hotel room. You can bet I picked up dinner for us while we were so close.

A taqueria inside of a Shell Gas Station that was featured on Diner’s, Drive-Ins and Dives happened to be just down the road from our hotel room. You can bet I picked up dinner for us while we were so close.

We stayed in the hotel for about 4 nights before the manager informed us we would have to check out because they were fully booked. The folks at Cummins gave us different progress reports each day. First they would tell us that they had ordered the part they needed and were waiting for it to be shipped. The next day they would tell us they were waiting for Monaco to call they back so we could order the part... What? I thought the part was already ordered. It is a Cummins engine that is leaking, why on earth do you need a part from Monaco? After we were checked out of our second hotel, we just went to the Cummins lounge and parked ourselves in the Customer Lounge until we got a straight answer.

We stayed in the hotel for about 4 nights before the manager informed us we would have to check out because they were fully booked. The folks at Cummins gave us different progress reports each day. First them would tell us that they had ordered the part they needed and were waiting for it to be shipped. The next day they would tell us they were waiting for Monaco to call they back so we could order the part… What? I thought the part was already ordered. It is a Cummins engine that is leaking, why on earth do you need a part from Monaco? After we were checked out of our second hotel, we just went to the Cummins lounge and parked ourselves in the Customer Lounge until we got a straight answer.

After almost one week at Cummins, a competent Manager dialed into our case, and facilitated what needed to happen for the repairs to take place. When we were set to go, they realized how terrible the service had been and comped the repairs with a simple handshake. Since the original estimate had been over $700, we felt like we were treated fairly in the end. We did not leave Cummins until after 5:00 PM with strong thunderstorms approaching, so we drove about 3 miles down the road and boon docked in a Walmart parking lot. Travel to Pennsylvania would come the next day after the traffic and weather cleared, and after we finally got a good night's rest.

After almost one week at Cummins, a competent Manager dialed into our case, and facilitated what needed to happen for the repairs to take place. When we were set to go, they realized how terrible the service had been and comped the repairs with a simple handshake. Since the original estimate had been over $700, we felt like we were treated fairly in the end. We did not leave Cummins until after 5:00 PM with strong thunderstorms approaching, so we drove about 3 miles down the road and boon docked in a Walmart parking lot. Travel to Pennsylvania would come the next day after the traffic and weather cleared, and after we finally got a good night’s rest.

I was so happy to be back in our own space that I celebrated by cleaning my fridge and freezer before reloading it with all the frozen and cold items we had been schlepping all over the Baltimore/ D.C. metro areas.

I was so happy to be back in our own space that I celebrated by cleaning my fridge and freezer before reloading it with all the frozen and cold items we had been schlepping all over the Baltimore/ D.C. metro areas.

Maryland Part II: Millersville

We were originally only supposed to spend two weeks in Maryland. It is a small state, and we were in a hurry to keep moving north so we could get through Pennsylvania and New York in time to turn south again  – ahead of the cold weather that the fall season would start to bring. However, the Monaco had a different plan for us. You might remember that on our last night back in West Virginia, there was a short (but fierce) storm that sent a limb crashing into our roof somewhere. Guess what… the damage from the limb caused the awful leak over our electronics cabinet to reappear. Mike contacted our insurance company and they helped us line up the repairs. This is where the logistics became a problem. We originally planned to check out of our campground in Woodbine on July 3rd. However, if we put the coach in the shop that day (which was a Thursday), they would be closed for the holiday on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We would have been paying to stay in a hotel while our rig was sitting in the shop with no one working on it. The Woodbine park was fully booked for the holiday weekend, so we could not extend our reservation at that location. We had to find somewhere else to go from Thursday to Monday… then deliver the coach on Monday morning when the repair shop re-opened for business. That is how we ended up at the KOA in Millersville. It was the only campground between Baltimore, Annapolis and D.C. that had an opening.

We made the most of our ‘layover’. We went back to visit Baltimore and Annapolis again. The best part is that this little glitch allowed us to experience the 4th of July in our nation’s capitol. Not something I would ever attempt again, but worth the experience just once!

The KOA in Millersville tags itself as a Washington D.C. campground, even though it is 45 minutes away. This is the second most expensive park we have stayed in (the first was a VERY nice one in Key West). For $70 per night we did not even get a sewer connection or a full 50 amps of power. In the morning, I tried to enjoy my coffee at my computer while our neighbor blew cigarette smoke straight up into my open window. She couldn't help it... she was sitting at her own picnic table. Its okay, we were desperate.

The KOA in Millersville tags itself as a Washington D.C. campground, even though it is 45 minutes away. This is the second most expensive park we have stayed in (the first was a VERY nice one in Key West). For $70 per night we did not even get a sewer connection or a full 50 amps of power. In the morning, I tried to enjoy my coffee at my computer while our neighbor blew cigarette smoke straight up into my open window. She couldn’t help it… she was sitting at her own picnic table. It is okay, we were desperate.

Another excellent recommendation from my friend, Dina, was to eat more crab at Cantler's Riverside Inn outside of Annapolis. There was a two-hour wait for our table, but this was our view while we passed the time and the bar let us take drinks outside to the waiting area. It turned out to be a great Saturday night outing.

Another excellent recommendation from my friend, Dina, was to eat more crab at Cantler’s Riverside Inn outside of Annapolis. There was a two-hour wait for our table. However, this was our view while we passed the time, and the bar let us take drinks outside to the waiting area. It turned out to be a great Saturday night outing.

We went back to Baltimore one last time while we were parked at the KOA. On our first daytrip, we found a great little place in Fell's Point that had outside tables where the dogs were allowed. Every hour they rang a big bell and all drinks at the bar were 1/2 price for 5 minutes! Mike really loved it there, so we went back!

We went back to Baltimore one last time while we were parked at the KOA. On our first daytrip, we found a great little place in Fell’s Point that had outside tables where the dogs were allowed. Every hour they rang a big bell and all drinks at the bar were 1/2 price for 5 minutes! Mike really loved it there, so we went back!

While we were wandering around D.C. on the 4th, I saw this beautiful building. A few days later I was watching the news and saw a story about how Trump was in the process of converting it into a new luxury hotel. Wouldn't mind staying there once it is finished!

While we were wandering around D.C. on the 4th, I saw this beautiful building. A few days later I was watching the news and saw a story about how Trump was in the process of converting it into a new luxury hotel. Wouldn’t mind staying there once it is finished!

The Washington Monument was still covered in scaffolding the last time we came to D.C. from Virginia. What a treat that the repairs were all complete by the time we returned!

The Washington Monument was still covered in scaffolding the last time we came to D.C. from Virginia. What a treat that the repairs were all complete by the time we returned!

The crowds on the mall thickened as dusk arrived.

The crowds on the mall thickened as dusk arrived.

We completely lucked out when we stumbled upon this restaurant called Oyamel while looking for some lunch on the 4th. Delicious authentic interior Mexican food. We sat at the Ceviche bar, and watched the other tourists and homeless people mill about the sidewalk outside while we had a little taste fest in the air conditioning.

We completely lucked out when we stumbled upon this restaurant called Oyamel while looking for some lunch on the 4th. Delicious authentic interior Mexican food. We sat at the Ceviche bar, and watched the other tourists and homeless people mill about the sidewalk outside while we had a little taste fest in the air conditioning.

Of course the fireworks didn't start until dusk at around 8:00 PM, but the mall was already starting to fill up as early as 3:00.

Of course the fireworks didn’t start until dusk at around 8:00 PM, but the mall was already starting to fill up as early as 3:00.

Now the Capitol dome is about to be covered in scaffolding, but we were lucky enough to see it all lit up in the dark before the work begins.

Now the Capitol dome is about to be covered in scaffolding, but we were lucky enough to see it all lit up in the dark before the work begins.

Here is our proof that we were in Washington D.C. on July 4th.

Here is our proof that we were in Washington D.C. on July 4th.

We spent so much time trying to get the perfect selfie, we almost missed all of the pyrotechnics!

We spent so much time trying to get the perfect selfie, we almost missed all of the pyrotechnics!

Finally, we turned around and looked at the sky with our eyes instead through the lenses of our phone cameras.

Finally, we turned around and looked at the sky with our eyes instead of through the lenses of our phone cameras.

Happy Birthday, America!

Happy Birthday, America!

Maryland Part I: Woodbine

Our first stop in Maryland was just outside the Baltimore Metro area in the farming community of Woodbine. We stayed at Ramblin’ Pines Campground for two weeks. The weather was wonderful, the campground was very nice, and our daytrips were lots of fun. We were within driving distance of not only downtown Baltimore, but also Washington D.C. and Annapolis. This stop gave us a great first impression of the Old Line State.

This was one of the roads from our camp to the nearest shopping center. The short drive was so pretty and peaceful, I found myself making up excuses to run errands!

This was one of the roads from our camp to the nearest shopping center. The short drive was so pretty and peaceful, I found myself making up excuses to run errands!

There was a Saturday Farmer's Market about 20 minutes north of us in Westminster. I went both weekends we were at Ramblin' Pines Campground. All the produce was so fresh and delicious, but the best discovery was the booth that sold fresh cakes and pies. On my first visit I bought 1/2 of a Hot Buttered Rum Pound Cake. The second weekend I bought another 1/2 of the Peach Schnapps flavor. If we had extra room in our freezer, I would have bought several others and frozen them.  They were absolutely delicious.

There was a Saturday Farmer’s Market about 20 minutes north of us in Westminster. I went both weekends we were at Ramblin’ Pines Campground. All the produce was so fresh and delicious, but the best discovery was the booth that sold fresh cakes and pies. On my first visit I bought 1/2 of a Hot Buttered Rum Pound Cake. The second weekend I bought another 1/2 of the Peach Schnapps flavor. If we had extra room in our freezer, I would have bought several others and frozen them. They were absolutely delicious.

The countryside around our campground featured charming vistas of gently rolling hills patterned with various crops in different stages of growth. There were dozens of times I would reach the top of a hill while driving to see the most charming landscapes. I couldn't pull the car to the side of the road every three minutes, but this might give you an idea of the scenery that surrounded us.

The countryside around our campground featured charming vistas of gently rolling hills patterned with various crops in different stages of growth. There were dozens of times I would reach the top of a hill while driving to see the most charming landscapes. I couldn’t pull the car to the side of the road every three minutes, but this might give you an idea of the scenery that surrounded us.

Our campground was family owned and extremely well maintained. One of the fun activities that was available was a mini Putt Putt course.

Our campground was family owned and extremely well maintained. One of the fun activities that was available was a mini Putt Putt course.

They also had live music on Saturday nights.

They also had live music on Saturday nights.

Our spot was directly across from the office, next to this quaint pond. It was a very nice view from our bedroom window... although I never discovered the relevance of the fake tiger hiding behind the plants.

Our spot was directly across from the office, next to this quaint pond. It was a very nice view from our bedroom window… although I never discovered the relevance of the fake tiger hiding behind the plants.

The pool at the campground was open from noon - 4 and 5 - 8. Kind of strange hours, but we took advantage when the weather was nice.

The pool at the campground was open from noon – 4 and 5 – 8. Kind of strange hours, but we took advantage when the weather was nice.

Meet Jack and Jill. They lived in a large pen at the campground. Jack was a HUGE flirt, and Jill was a little bit shy. They were very entertaining every time I walked over to visit with them. One of the caretakers said they get two each year. They come as babies around the holiday season, and leave in the late spring when their 'owners' come to pick them up. The new season brings two more. Although I have a hunch, I did not ask why the pair got picked back up after they were grown, or where they 'went'. Since they were always replaced with two new ones, I didn't really want to hear about the details of their lives after the departure. Maybe I was in denial because I really love to eat 'cabrito'.

Meet Jack and Jill. They lived in a large pen at the campground. Jack was a HUGE flirt, and Jill was a little bit shy. They were very entertaining every time I walked over to visit with them. One of the caretakers said they get two each year. They come as babies around the holiday season, and leave in the late spring when their ‘owners’ come to pick them up. The new season brings two more. Although I have a hunch, I did not ask why the pair got picked back up after they were grown, or where they ‘went’. Since they were always replaced with two new ones, I didn’t really want to hear about the details of their lives after the departure. Maybe I was in denial because I really love to eat ‘cabrito’.

Although this barn was at the front entrance of our Maryland campground, it is really a reference to Kentucky. In the Bluegrass State, almost every barn has a big quilt pattern displayed on the front at the top. I could never take a picture because we always passed them in the car and we were going too fast to get a photo that was not blurry. I thought that small detail on every farm was so charming. It was like the American version of a family crest.

Although this barn was at the front entrance of our Maryland campground, it is really a reference to Kentucky. In the Bluegrass State, almost every barn has a big quilt pattern displayed on the front at the top. I could never take a picture because we always passed them in the car and we were going too fast to get a photo that was not blurry. I thought that small detail on every farm was so charming. It was like the American version of a family crest.

Of course we enjoyed our first-night martinis after checking in and setting up at Ramblin' Pines Campground.

Of course we enjoyed our first-night martinis after checking in and setting up at Ramblin’ Pines Campground. Since the Longhorns were playing in the College World Series, this happy hour took place in front of the outside television.

 

We drove down to Georgetown one day from this spot. We took the dogs and walked around the commercial area as well as the University campus.

We drove down to Georgetown one day from this spot. We took the dogs and walked around the commercial area as well as the University campus.

I could have spent an entire day wandering in and out of every store front along the streets of Georgetown. Maybe Mike suggested we take the dogs on that daytrip to prevent just that!

I could have spent an entire day wandering in and out of every store front along the streets of Georgetown. Maybe Mike suggested we take the dogs on that daytrip to prevent just that!

This was our first meal in Baltimore. One of my former neighbors, Dina, is a native of the area and suggested Bo Brooks on the water for Maryland crabs. I was very grateful to her for this recommendation, along with dozens of others that she offered. We ordered cream of crab soup, crab cakes, and 4 jumbo steamed crabs. After we made a huge mess of the table and ourselves, we moved to the bar and watched some World Cup soccer.

This was our first meal in Baltimore. One of my former neighbors, Dina, is a native of the area and suggested Bo Brooks on the water for Maryland crabs. I was very grateful to her for this recommendation, along with dozens of others that she offered. We ordered cream of crab soup, crab cakes, and 4 jumbo steamed crabs. After we made a huge mess of the table and ourselves, we moved to the bar and watched some World Cup soccer.

One of the views from the patio outside Bo Brooks Restaurant.

One of the views from the patio outside Bo Brooks Restaurant.

We went back into Baltimore another day with the dogs in tow and walked around the Inner Harbor for HOURS! We walked from Fell's Point all the way around to Federal Hill, and back (that is basically PAST the buildings you see off in the distance across the water). It was a fun day of exploration.

We went back into Baltimore another day with the dogs in tow and walked around the Inner Harbor for HOURS! We walked from Fell’s Point all the way around to Federal Hill, and back (that is basically PAST the buildings you see off in the distance across the water). It was a fun day of exploration.

The Ravens and the Orioles play in arenas next door to each other in downtown Baltimore. It was baseball season while we were there, but we did not make it inside Camden Yards during our visit.

The Ravens and the Orioles play in arenas next door to each other in downtown Baltimore. It was baseball season while we were there, but we did not make it inside Camden Yards during our visit.

Mike insisted on watching EVERY game of the FIFA World Cup Series. I joined him when the U.S. team was playing. We went to the local Woodbine Inn Tavern to watch our team play (and lose to) Germany. Since I really don't care about watching soccer, I ordered 1/2 dozen steamed crab and picked them clean to avoid boredom during the game. I took home the leftovers and tossed my bounty with some angel hair pasta and Mediterranean veggies for the next night's dinner.

Mike insisted on watching EVERY game of the FIFA World Cup Series. I joined him when the U.S. team was playing. We went to the local Woodbine Inn Tavern to watch our team play (and lose to) Germany. Since I really don’t care about watching soccer, I ordered 1/2 dozen steamed crab and picked them clean to avoid boredom during the game. I took home the leftovers and tossed my bounty with some angel hair pasta and Mediterranean veggies for the next night’s dinner.

The view in front of me at the beginning of the soccer game.

The view in front of me at the beginning of the soccer game.

Tired dogs after one of our daytrips.

Tired dogs after one of our daytrips.

We drove down to Annapolis on another day during our stay at Ramblin' Pines.

We drove down to Annapolis on another day during our stay at Ramblin’ Pines.

The Maryland Statehouse.

The Maryland Statehouse.

The dogs went with us to Annapolis. Cessna found the brick streets and historic buildings to be very quaint.

The dogs went with us to Annapolis. Cessna found the brick streets and historic buildings to be very quaint.

We were building our campfire one evening when we looked up to see this random hot air balloon that had just lifted off the ground somewhere in the neighborhood. They were still ascending into the sky when we spotted them above us!

We were building our campfire one evening when we looked up to see this random hot air balloon that had just lifted off the ground somewhere in the neighborhood. They were still ascending into the sky when we spotted them above us!

Judging from the inventory in it's marina, I'd say the Annapolis Yacht Club has some high rollers among its membership.

Judging from the inventory in it’s marina, I’d say the Annapolis Yacht Club has some high rollers among its membership.

Another view of the Annapolis Harbor.

Another view of the Annapolis Harbor.

The sunset on our last night at Ramblin' Pines was a perfect ending to a nice stop during our adventure.

The sunset on our last night at Ramblin’ Pines was a perfect ending to a nice stop during our adventure.

 

West Virginia Part II: Romney

Our second stop in West Virginia was in the northeastern corner of the state near Virginia and Maryland, just outside of Romney. We only got out and about a couple of times – to get groceries and have lunch at the local Dairy Queen. We spent the rest of the time just hanging around the campground, soaking up the sun and the views.

Here's our selfie from this stop.

Here’s our selfie from this stop.

We were in spot 7B at Wapocoma Campground.

We were in spot 7B at Wapocoma Campground.

We have never camped anywhere that had so many rabbits. They were EVERYWHERE. Piper tried like hell to figure out how to catch one of them, but he never realized success.

We have never camped anywhere that had so many rabbits. They were EVERYWHERE. Piper tried like hell to figure out how to catch one of them, but he never realized success.

This is a photo of the campground before the weekend. Our view from Friday through Sunday was into the kitchen window of another camper. We preferred this version.

This is a photo of the campground before the weekend. Our view from Friday through Sunday was into the kitchen window of another camper. We preferred this version.

The view of the mountains off in the distance changed constantly, depending on the sun, clouds and all other atmospheric contributors.

The view of the mountains off in the distance changed constantly, depending on the sun, clouds and all other atmospheric contributors.

There weren't too many attractions around the Romney area, so I spent some of my time just floating in the river.

There weren’t too many attractions around the Romney area, so I spent some of my time just floating in the river.

The mountains during sunset.

The mountains during sunset.

Wapocoma Campground is on the South Branch of the Potomac River. They have about one mile of riverbank that wraps around the boundaries of the campground.

Wapocoma Campground is on the South Branch of the Potomac River. They have about one mile of riverbank that wraps around the boundaries of the campground.

Mike and I tried to get out in the inflatable kayak, but we were going against the current at first. Our effort at teamwork was challenged prematurely and we came back into shore after about 30 minutes. That was better than remaining in the kayak until a full-tilt argument ensued. I'm not very good at paddling in unison. Let's just leave it at that...

Mike and I tried to get out in the inflatable kayak, but we were going against the current at first. Our effort at teamwork was challenged prematurely and we came back into shore after about 30 minutes. That was better than remaining in the kayak until a full-tilt argument ensued. I’m not very good at paddling in unison. Let’s just leave it at that…

All of the camp sites were set off the water by a small distance, so there was a large rocky beach area for everyone to share and enjoy.

All of the camp sites were set off the water by a small distance, so there was a large rocky beach area for everyone to share and enjoy.

Our trip from Gauley Bridge to Romney was an arduous one. I was terrified of the twists and turns, which wasn't so much fun for the driver of the rig. We could not take the 'direct' route through the mountains because of all the switchbacks, so we had to travel north to Morgantown in order to stay on a large interstate for as long as possible. When we exited I-68 in Cumberland, the Truck Route to Hwy 28 was almost impossible to find. We had to detour into a shopping center and take a hard look at google maps to find a road that was big enough to get us through town. In exasperation, I called UPS and asked the lady for the route that their big trucks take through town. It worked and we found our way. When we arrived at the campground, this was the sky that greeted us. Needless to say, that was an intense travel day.

Our trip from Gauley Bridge to Romney was an arduous one. I was terrified of the twists and turns, which wasn’t so much fun for the driver of the rig. We could not take the ‘direct’ route through the mountains because of all the switchbacks, so we had to travel north to Morgantown in order to stay on a large interstate for as long as possible. When we exited I-68 in Cumberland, the Truck Route to Hwy 28 was almost impossible to find. We had to detour into a shopping center and take a hard look at google maps to find a road that was big enough to get us through town. In exasperation, I called UPS and asked the lady for the route that their big trucks take through town. It worked and we found our way. When we arrived at the campground, this was the sky that greeted us. Needless to say, that was an intense travel day.

This is a better picture of the rocky beach area at the campground.

This is a better picture of the rocky beach area at the campground.

West Virginia Part I: Gauley Bridge

West  Virginia is the Mountain State. Scary driving, beautiful scenery. Our first stop was Gauley Bridge, which is about 30 minutes south of the Capitol, Charleston. We stayed at New River Campground. Our spot was directly on the water. It was quiet except for the trains. The electricity worked about 70% of the time. We had no trouble relaxing.

We had a quick but fierce storm pass through Gauley Bridge on the last night we were there. A small branch pelted our roof and damaged our big awning. Our roof leak resurfaced and it has detained us while in Maryland, but this is what happened across the river from us. This big tree blew over and took over the entire house! Luckily, it was only a weekend home and no humans were displaced.

We had a quick but fierce storm pass through Gauley Bridge on the last night we were there. A small branch pelted our roof and damaged our big awning. Our roof leak resurfaced and it has detained us while in Maryland, but this is what happened across the river from us. This big tree blew over and took over the entire house! Luckily, it was only a weekend home and no humans were displaced.

A waterfall on the way to our campground.

A waterfall on the way to our campground.

New River Gorge

New River Gorge

Trains transporting coal rumbled through the base of the mountains and echoed back up into the hills until the environment vibrated ever so slightly with the rhythm of engines, tracks, breaks and horns. When it passed, everything would be magically quiet until the hint of the rumble started the sequence all over again.

Trains transporting coal rumbled through the base of the mountains and echoed back up into the hills until the environment vibrated ever so slightly with the rhythm of engines, tracks, breaks and horns. When it passed, everything would be magically quiet until the hint of the rumble started the sequence all over again.

One of Mike's fishing holes was from the rocks under the shade trees at the far end of the campground boundary, on the New River.

One of Mike’s fishing holes was from the rocks under the shade trees at the far end of the campground boundary, on the New River.

Kanawha Falls

Kanawha Falls

Heeeerrrrree Fishy Fishy.

Heeeerrrrree Fishy Fishy.

A typical view from our Cliff Side Trail Hike at Hawke's Nest State Park. If you looked the other way, it was just straight down. Just tops of trees is all you saw, basically. I didn't stop to ponder the view in that direction too intently.

A typical view from our Cliff Side Trail Hike at Hawke’s Nest State Park. If you looked the other way, it was just straight down. Just tops of trees is all you saw, basically. I didn’t stop to ponder the view in that direction too intently.

We went to church from this stop. The Methodist Church was just down the road, and they had a 9:45 service on Sunday. There were SEVEN people in the sanctuary that day, including the minister and the piano player (who was a member of the Baptist Church down the street, and just volunteered her time on Sunday mornings). It was a nice service.

We went to church from this stop. The Methodist Church was just down the road, and they had a 9:45 service on Sunday. There were SEVEN people in the sanctuary that day, including the minister and the piano player (who was a member of the Baptist Church down the street, and just volunteered her time on Sunday mornings). It was a nice service.

Bald eagles flying over the river at our camp.

Bald eagles flying over the river at our camp.

Do you see the face?

Do you see the face?

The view from my bedroom window at this stop.

The view from my bedroom window at this stop.

The Governor's Mansion in Charleston, West Virginia.

The Governor’s Mansion in Charleston, West Virginia.

West Virginia Capitol Building

West Virginia Capitol Building

A section of our trail on the Cliff Side hike.

A section of our trail on the Cliff Side hike.

The whole time we went DOWN the Cliff Side Trail Path, I kept dreading the part when we turned around and went back UP! Ugh.

The whole time we went DOWN the Cliff Side Trail Path, I kept dreading the part when we turned around and went back UP! Ugh.

The economy in West Virginia is very depressed. There is no shopping, there are no restaurants. Not much to 'do'. The natural beauty is phenomenal... and this is pretty much how we spent our afternoons during the stretch of beautiful weather.

The economy in West Virginia is very depressed. There is no shopping, there are no restaurants. Not much to ‘do’. The natural beauty is phenomenal… and this is pretty much how we spent our afternoons during the stretch of beautiful weather.

Cathedral Falls was, literally, right around the corner from our campground.

Cathedral Falls was, literally, right around the corner from our campground.

The historic bridge over the New River Gorge.

The historic bridge over the New River Gorge.

A blog post would not be complete without a photo of Mike's beloved geese.

A blog post would not be complete without a photo of Mike’s beloved geese.

Our spot from Gauley Bridge, West Virginia. They told us the people at the dam would call if it was going to flood.

Our spot from Gauley Bridge, West Virginia. They told us the people at the dam would call if it was going to flood.

The treat of our Cliff Side Trail Hike was finding this waterfall. The sound of it lured us along the path for what seemed like an eternity.

The treat of our Cliff Side Trail Hike was finding this waterfall. The sound of it lured us along the path for what seemed like an eternity.

Kentucky Part II: Frankfort

When we left Paducah we went to The Bluegrass. This is a term for a musical genre, but also how they describe the region because the fields of grass on the hillsides look like they are a blue color flowing in the wind. I didn’t see any blue grass – it all looked green to me, but the area was still spectacular. I’ll admit that I didn’t expect much from Kentucky because I didn’t know anything about the state. After we arrived I was enormously impressed with its natural beauty. Our campground was just outside of Frankfort, and we were within easy travel distances from both Lexington and Louisville.

On a return trip I would like to rent a house boat on one of their giant lakes: Cumberland, Barkley, or Kentucky. We didn’t get a chance to get out on any of these lakes while we were there, but we did get a chance to see several charming historic towns and experience the lush landscape via hikes with the dogs or daytrips in the car.

We loved the view from most of the drives in the Bluegrass. Whether it was interstate or back roads, the asphalt was constantly lined with picturesque horse farms on both sides.

We loved the view from most of the drives in the Bluegrass. Whether it was interstate or back roads, the asphalt was constantly lined with picturesque horse farms on both sides.

I think the day we went to Churchill Downs was one of the most fun outings we had while we were camped near Frankfort. I opted for a very meticulous method of selecting which horses to bet on... I chose the names I liked the best. Mike took a bit more of an analytical approach and listened to some of the advice from experts in the racing brochure. I think he got paid on two races and I got paid on everything BUT two races.

I think the day we went to Churchill Downs was one of the most fun outings we had while we were camped near Frankfort. I opted for a very meticulous method of selecting which horses to bet on… I chose the names I liked the best. Mike took a bit more of an analytical approach and listened to some of the advice from experts in the racing brochure. I think he got paid on two races and I got paid on everything BUT two races.

The weather was perfect on the day we went to Churchill Downs. I was afraid it would be crazy busy, since we went on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. However, the place is go gigantic and the crowds were not overwhelming, so we were not cramped at all. We made our way between the paddock and front-row seats in front of the winner's circle - with stops at the betting booths in each direction (either to hand the teller more money or collect our earnings).

The weather was perfect on the day we went to Churchill Downs. I was afraid it would be crazy busy, since we went on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. However, the place is go gigantic and the crowds were not overwhelming, so we were not cramped at all. We made our way between the paddock and front-row seats in front of the winner’s circle – with stops at the betting booths in each direction (either to hand the teller more money or collect our earnings).

The things that made Churchill Downs so special, in my opinion, were the abstract things like the architecture, art, and flowers everywhere. I also really liked the two mint juleps I sampled.

The things that made Churchill Downs so special, in my opinion, were the abstract things like the architecture, art, and flowers everywhere. I also really liked the two mint juleps I sampled.

The Downtown Frankfort Organization sponsors summer concerts on the lawn of the old capitol building on Friday nights. We were lucky enough to be in town for the kick-off event. The first band that played was an eclectic marching band, and their leader was this guy playing the horn on stilts. I never took the photo at the right time, but he also had fire blowing from the instrument while he played!

The Downtown Frankfort Organization sponsors summer concerts on the lawn of the old capitol building on Friday nights. We were lucky enough to be in town for the kick-off event. The first band that played was an eclectic marching band, and their leader was this guy playing the horn on stilts. I never took the photo at the right time, but he also had fire blowing from the instrument while he played!

The Kentucky River runs right through the middle of downtown Frankfort, with a bridge on opposite sides to connect each sector. One half is where all the commercial buildings and business are located. The other half features the actual Capitol Building and Governor's Mansion tucked into an historic residential neighborhood.

The Kentucky River runs right through the middle of downtown Frankfort, with a bridge on opposite sides to connect each sector. One half is where all the commercial buildings and business are located. The other half features the actual Capitol Building and Governor’s Mansion tucked into an historic residential neighborhood.

When we landed at the campground in Frankfort, of course I did a search for DDD restaurants in the area. We were excited to find out that Rick's White Light Diner was featured on the show around 2010. No doubt, we visited for lunch one day. The food was very good, but the portions were tiny and the prices were really high. I guess there is only so much money one can make in a restaurant with 6 tables and a counter when you only serve breakfast and lunch. To retain the 'dive' charm and avoid expansion, I guess he had no other choice but to limit the amount of food he serves and then price it through the roof.

When we landed at the campground in Frankfort, of course I did a search for DDD restaurants in the area. We were excited to find out that Rick’s White Light Diner was featured on the show around 2010. No doubt, we visited for lunch one day. The food was very good, but the portions were tiny and the prices were really high. I guess there is only so much money one can make in a restaurant with 6 tables and a counter when you only serve breakfast and lunch. To retain the ‘dive’ charm and avoid expansion, I guess he had no other choice but to limit the amount of food he serves and then price it through the roof.

This looks like it could be a small marina somewhere out in the country, but it is right off of the 'main drag' in downtown Frankfort.

This looks like it could be a small marina somewhere out in the country, but it is right off of the ‘main drag’ in downtown Frankfort.

Our campground near Frankfort got really busy on the weekends with tent campers. It was a big spot for canoeing. There were even some for rent from the camp store.

Our campground near Frankfort got really busy on the weekends with tent campers. It was a big spot for canoeing. There were even some for rent from the camp store.

Our Still Waters Campground sat right on the banks of Elkhorn Creek where it empties into the Kentucky River.

Our Still Waters Campground sat right on the banks of Elkhorn Creek where it empties into the Kentucky River.

It was an overcast afternoon on the day we visited Lexington. It started raining on us just as we got out of the car to explore the area, so we did a drive-by tour instead. I really loved all the historic homes in the neighborhoods adjacent to the Central Business District.

It was an overcast afternoon on the day we visited Lexington. It started raining on us just as we got out of the car to explore the area, so we did a drive-by tour instead. I really loved all the historic homes in the neighborhoods adjacent to the Central Business District.

Louisville is the largest city in Kentucky with a wonderful downtown situated along the Ohio River. When we first got there, we walked the dogs along an 85-acre waterfront park. After they were tired, we headed toward the historic buildings and found a spot for lunch on an outside patio. As we made our way back to the car, we stumbled upon this ENORMOUS bat outside the factory where they make Louisville Sluggers. Now that is an original landmark!

Louisville is the largest city in Kentucky with a wonderful downtown situated along the Ohio River. When we first got there, we walked the dogs along an 85-acre waterfront park. After they were tired, we headed toward the historic buildings and found a spot for lunch on an outside patio. As we made our way back to the car, we stumbled upon this ENORMOUS bat outside the factory where they make Louisville Sluggers. Now that is an original landmark!

Just another historic building in downtown Louisville with gorgeous attention to detail on its original façade.

Just another historic building in downtown Louisville with gorgeous attention to detail on its original façade.

I had to order a 'Hot Brown' in the state where it was invented. It almost made me want to have a hangover while eating it... seemed like the perfect cure with its layers of bread, gravy, roast turkey, sliced ham, melted cheddar cheese, bacon and tomato. SOOO delicious and incredibly unhealthy! That amount of grease and carbs would make anyone feel better if they overindulged the previous night.

I had to order a ‘Hot Brown’ in the state where it was invented. It almost made me want to have a hangover while eating it… seemed like the perfect cure with its layers of bread, gravy, roast turkey, sliced ham, melted cheddar cheese, bacon and tomato. SOOO delicious and incredibly unhealthy! That amount of grease and carbs would make anyone feel better if they overindulged the previous night.

The Capitol Building is surrounded by a large landscape of lush lawns, big trees and beautiful flower beds.

The Capitol Building is surrounded by a large landscape of lush lawns, big trees and beautiful flower beds.

One morning we took the dogs on a public walking trail that I found a few miles from our camp. When we got to the end we found this clear stream in a little valley.

One morning we took the dogs on a public walking trail that I found a few miles from our camp. When we got to the end we found this clear stream in a little valley.

They had endured a giant rain storm the night before we arrived at Still Waters. When I first went to look at Elkhorn Creek, I thought to myself "brown yucky water'. But that was just because of the rain. After a few days, the water levels dropped back down and it turned to more of a green hue.

They had endured a giant rain storm the night before we arrived at Still Waters. When I first went to look at Elkhorn Creek, I thought to myself “brown yucky water’. But that was just because of the rain. After a few days, the water levels dropped back down and it turned to more of a green hue.

The owners of the campground leased some of their land to farmers from the area. We got the chance to watch a crop of tobacco grow behind our spot.

The owners of the campground leased some of their land to farmers from the area. We got the chance to watch a crop of tobacco grow behind our spot.

Kentucky Part I: Paducah

We made our way west through Tennessee so we could make our way east through Kentucky. Paducah was a town we had heard of on the western edge of the state, so that is where we started our month in The Bluegrass State. Although it was only about a 3.5- hour drive from West Memphis to Paducah, we drove through 4 states to get there. That was a bit of a novelty for these two native Texans. (Three hours on the road in Texas won’t even get you from Houston to Corpus Christi)!

We divided our time on this stop between errands/maintenance issues and tourist attractions. Our park was only 6 miles from downtown, so had time to get to know the ‘local’ scene. Piper went to the vet for some annual tests, the Honda got its oil changed, we had a mechanic look at the engine in the Monaco, we had the ice-make replaced in our freezer, and Mike fixed my broken dryer. We also got to see Kentucky Lake, The Land Between the Lakes, and Lake Barkley. I went to The National Quilt Museum, and we spent our last evening at a Willie Nelson Concert. All in all, it was a good stop.

My first impression of Kentucky was a good one as we drove along this highway painted with miles and miles of bright yellow wildflowers.

My first impression of Kentucky was a good one as we drove along this highway painted with miles and miles of bright yellow wildflowers.

We thought we were going to end up seeing only cows, but then we spotted this big bull grazing on some leaves off of a tree in the shade.

At the Elk & Bison Prairie we thought we were going to end up seeing only cows, but then we spotted this big bull grazing on some leaves off of a tree in the shade.

There was an Elk & Bison Prairie at Land Between the Lakes. We paid about $3 to drive through a protected area and get a first-hand look at these huge animals. The dogs were in the back of the Honda staring intently and quietly. It is as if they understood it would not be wise to bark at these creatures. None of us wanted to see them agitated!

There was an Elk & Bison Prairie at Land Between the Lakes. We paid about $3 to drive through a protected area and get a first-hand look at these huge animals. The dogs were in the back of the Honda staring intently and quietly. It is as if they understood it would not be wise to bark at these creatures. None of us wanted to see them agitated!

It was a good thing we decided to stay a bit longer at our first Kentucky stop. My dryer broke.  Mike was able to take the thing apart, figure out what was wrong, order the correct replacement part, and put it back together again. Problem solved for about $20. I'm incredibly thankful he is so 'handy'.

It was a good thing we decided to stay a bit longer at our first Kentucky stop. My dryer broke. Mike was able to take the thing apart, figure out what was wrong, order the correct replacement part, and put it back together again. Problem solved for about $20. I’m incredibly thankful he is so ‘handy’.

We braved a few thunderstorms while we were at this location.

We braved a few thunderstorms while we were at this location.

I think the best thing about Paducah is The National Quilt Museum. Guests are not allowed to take pictures of any of the pieces inside. All I can say is that it was incredible.

I think the best thing about Paducah is The National Quilt Museum. Guests are not allowed to take pictures of any of the pieces inside. All I can say is that it was incredible.

More murals from the wall that is supposed to protect the city from the river.

More murals from the wall that is supposed to protect the city from the river.

I'm not sure if these carriage rides are offered daily in Paducah, or if she only operates when special events are taking place in town.

I’m not sure if these carriage rides are offered daily in Paducah, or if she only operates when special events are taking place in town.

Paducah sits right on the water where the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers converge. Obviously, flooding is a common occurrence here. The city has built a giant wall along the banks of the river to protect itself from future natural disasters. In an effort to take some of the 'ugly' out of the concrete structure, they have painted murals on each panel. Each panel depicts an different portion of the area's history.

Paducah sits right on the water where the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers converge. Obviously, flooding is a common occurrence here. The city has built a giant wall along the banks of the river to protect itself from future natural disasters. In an effort to take some of the ‘ugly’ out of the concrete structure, they have painted murals on each panel. Each panel depicts an different portion of the area’s history.

The festival had two musical stages, dozens of food booths, and lots of artist booths. The weather was beautiful and it was a fun way to spend the afternoon.

The festival had two musical stages, dozens of food booths, and lots of artist booths. The weather was beautiful and it was a fun way to spend the afternoon.

Our accidental springtime festival sub tour continued when we got to spend an afternoon at the LowerTown Paducah Arts and Music Festival. I even bought a new dress!

Our accidental springtime festival sub tour continued when we got to spend an afternoon at the LowerTown Paducah Arts and Music Festival. I even bought a new dress!

The former Texas Main Street Manager in me was very interested in Paducah's Artist Relocation Program. Since 2000, the community has utilized public private partnerships to use the arts for economic development. The results are restored historic properties centered around an eclectic community of talented artists.

The former Texas Main Street Manager in me was very interested in Paducah’s Artist Relocation Program. Since 2000, the community has utilized public private partnerships to use the arts for economic development. The results are restored historic properties centered around an eclectic community of talented artists.

I had never heard of Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area before we saw a sign while driving from Nashville to Memphis. We were only 30 minutes from the north side when we got to Paducah, so we drove over a couple of days to enjoy the natural beauty.

I had never heard of Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area before we saw a sign while driving from Nashville to Memphis. We were only 30 minutes from the north side when we got to Paducah, so we drove over a couple of days to enjoy the natural beauty. This was our view at the beginning of one of our walks on the trails.

 

According to Wikipedia,  Kentucky Lake is a 160,309-acre lake that holds the distinction as the largest artificial lake by surface area in the United States east of the Mississippi River.

According to Wikipedia, Kentucky Lake is a 160,309-acre lake that holds the distinction as the largest artificial lake by surface area in the United States east of the Mississippi River.

I continue to try and convince Mike we need to have another adventure on a boat after this tour is complete. That is why I needed to check out these 'dockaminiums' - each boat slip had their own little patio area across the walkway from their vessel.

I continue to try and convince Mike we need to have another adventure on a boat after this tour is complete. That is why I needed to check out these ‘dockaminiums’ – each boat slip had their own little patio area across the walkway from their vessel.

There were no ducks or creeks at Duck Creek Campground. There really wasn't even any grass (except for at the dog park), but we came prepared to make our own atmosphere.

There were no ducks or creeks at Duck Creek Campground. There really wasn’t even any grass (except for at the dog park), but we came prepared to make our own atmosphere.

We drove over to Metropolis, Illinois one afternoon. The tired little town had two things going for it: Superman and Harrah's Casino.

We drove over to Metropolis, Illinois one afternoon. The tired little town had two things going for it: Superman and Harrah’s Casino.

Downtown Paducah had lots of personality and charm... as well as a wonderful bakery that made the most delicious cranberry walnut bread!

Downtown Paducah had lots of personality and charm… as well as a wonderful bakery that made the most delicious cranberry walnut bread!

A pre-concert selfie.

A pre-concert selfie.

We were hoping Alison Krauss and Willie Nelson would sing a duet together, but it didn't happen. She was certainly wonderful with her band Union Station. Once she left the stage, she never came back.

We were hoping Alison Krauss and Willie Nelson would sing a duet together, but it didn’t happen. She was certainly wonderful with her band Union Station. Once she left the stage, she never came back.

We only intended to stay in Paducah for one week, but when we heard that Willie Nelson and Alison Krauss were playing an upcoming concert at Murray State University, we extended our reservation by one week and got in the car to go buy our tickets!

We only intended to stay in Paducah for one week, but when we heard that Willie Nelson and Alison Krauss were playing an upcoming concert at Murray State University, we extended our reservation by one week and got in the car to go buy our tickets!

It was a very sweet scene when Willie Nelson played the first chord of Whisky River and the Texas flag dropped down behind the stage.

It was a very sweet scene when Willie Nelson played the first chord of Whisky River and the Texas flag dropped down behind the stage.

Tennessee Part III: Memphis

Okay, so we didn’t TECHNICALLY stay in Memphis, OR Tennessee, during our last stop in The Volunteer State. We stayed about five miles from downtown Memphis on the opposite side of the river at Tom Sawyer’s RV Park in West Memphis, Arkansas. There were only a few options in the area, and we narrowed it down to this place or a campground adjacent to Graceland, behind the Heartbreak Hotel. Tom Sawyer’s was much bigger and less expensive, plus the setting was more unique AND Mike could fish from this park. It was also the closest to downtown, where we spent most of our time away from home. We were a little nervous about making the reservation since the park’s website was very up-front about the possibility of flooding. However, since there were no terrible rain events during this leg of the trip, it turns out that we made a great decision in the long run.

Memphians are duly proud of their musical heritage and their BBQ, although I did enjoy some righteous fried poultry at the original Gus’ on South Front Street. Music and delicious food are two things near and dear to our hearts, so we really liked this place! We made it to most of the major attractions in the area including Graceland, Beale Street, Sun Studios, and the Parade of the Ducks at the historic Peabody Hotel. We saw lots of live music at the Beale Street Music Festival and at the original BB King’s Blues Club. We happened upon BB King’s just as a GREAT act started to play 2 sets. The 3-man band was called Memphis Jones. All the music they played originated in Memphis in one way or another (about, written or recorded there, or sung by a native). The lead singer prefaced each song with a mini music history lesson. I’ve never seen a band entertain an audience in such a unique and interesting manner. I think that might have been my favorite part of our entire week. We could have eaten at a different BBQ place every day, but we practiced self restraint and selected Central BBQ for a sampling of some delectable ribs. Yes, these two Texans gave a big thumbs up for the Memphis-style smoked meat. Mike caught lots of fish that week, and our park was big enough for the dogs to get long walks each day… so it was good for all of us. Lastly, the whole experience of watching the barges make their way up and down the Mighty Mississippi gave us a whole new perspective on the amount of commerce that takes place on the major rivers in our Country.

We didn’t take tons of photos on this stop, but here are a dozen that summarize some of the fun we had.

Elvis' private jet was on display at Graceland. It was lots of fun to be able to go inside and see the interior customized into different rooms and parlors. Lots of shag carpet.

Elvis’ private jet was on display at Graceland. It was lots of fun to be able to go inside and see the interior customized into different rooms and parlors. Lots of green shag carpet.

The living room is the most 'tame' and conservative at Graceland.

The living room is the most ‘tame’ and conservative at Graceland.

The city closes Beale Street to auto traffic each night.

The city closes Beale Street to auto traffic each night.

The antique trolley system in downtown Memphis added lots of charm to the area.

The antique trolley system in downtown Memphis added lots of charm to the area.

This barge had so much cargo that it needed a tug boat along side to help it down the river.

This barge had so much cargo that it needed a tug boat along side to help it down the river.

We accidentally ended up in Memphis in May... which is an organized thing. We really felt lucky when we learned that the Beale Street Music Festival was scheduled for the first weekend we were there. Perfect weather certainly didn't dampen our spirits!

We accidentally ended up in Memphis in May… which is an organized thing. We really felt lucky when we learned that the Beale Street Music Festival was scheduled for the first weekend we were there. Perfect weather certainly didn’t dampen our spirits!

There were five stages at the music festival, which is set on the banks of the Mississippi below the bluff where downtown is situated. We got to see Blues Traveler, Buddy Guy, JERRY LEE LEWIS, and Daddy Mack Blues Band. Two of our favorite acts were by bands we had never heard of before: Memphis Dawls and the Carolina Chocolate Drops. The music festival was the first event of Memphis in May. It started on Friday afternoon and ended on Sunday. We chose to go on Saturday when it opened around 2PM, and stayed until the crowd got really thick and pretty drunk just after dark.

There were five stages at the music festival, which is set on the banks of the Mississippi below the bluff where downtown is situated. We got to see Blues Traveler, Buddy Guy, JERRY LEE LEWIS, and Daddy Mack Blues Band. Two of our favorite acts were by bands we had never heard of before: Memphis Dawls and The Carolina Chocolate Drops. The music festival was the first event of Memphis in May. It started on Friday afternoon and ended on Sunday. We chose to go on Saturday when it opened around 2PM, and stayed until the crowd got really thick and pretty drunk just after dark.

Mike's fascination with geese continues... as does Piper's. For different reasons, of course.

Mike’s fascination with geese continues… as does Piper’s. For different reasons, of course.

A view from my morning walk with the dogs. This campground was large and spread out, with several walking paths in the surrounding natural areas. I just had to be on the lookout for snakes, raccoons, rabbits, and bugs.

A view from my morning walk with the dogs. This campground was large and spread out, with several walking paths in the surrounding natural areas. I just had to be on the lookout for snakes, raccoons, rabbits, and bugs.

This is probably the only campground we will stay at that is situated directly on the banks of the Mississippi River. Their website indicated that the area floods regularly, so I was a bit nervous about making the reservation to stay there. However, the weather held out and there were no issues at all. It turned out to be a very unique setting. We enjoyed our time there very much.

This is probably the only campground we will stay at that is situated directly on the banks of the Mississippi River.  It turned out to be a very unique setting. We enjoyed our time there very much.

Most of the coaches or trailers that stayed at Tom Sawyer's were only there overnight, so our neighbors were constantly changing. It was fun to see the new ones arrive each evening, and there was usually a big exodus between 7 and 9 each morning.

Most of the coaches or trailers that stayed at Tom Sawyer’s were only there overnight, so our neighbors were constantly changing. It was fun to see the new ones arrive each evening, and there was usually a big exodus between 7 and 9 each morning.

We crossed over the Tennessee River on the way to the banks of the Mississippi.

We crossed over the Tennessee River on the way to the banks of the Mississippi.