Monday, November 7, 2011

11/6/2011

We hooked up and after talking to everyone we headed for home. The temperature is totally different today from the last couple of days. It was 68 degrees when we got up this morning.

We got home finally after 81 days of camping!

We averaged $12.34 per night for camping (a total of $1,000.00).

We visited 22 states.

We visited 8 covered bridges in New Hampshire.

We visited 10 covered bridges in Vermont.

We visited 9 VFW halls.

We visited 60 brewpubs/breweries and 2 bourbon distilleries.

We spent $2,479.19 for gas.

We traveled 10,492 miles.

[END OF BLOG]

11/5/2011





It was only 36 degrees this morning. Jim and I hung around camp this morning and read. I am trying to read “The House of the Seven Gables” since we saw the house in Salem, Mass. The lady with the animals moved into the spot across from us. The couple who bought Marv and Vicki’s Casita left this morning to meet their son. We had some lunch and then Henry said they were going to see the falls and we followed them. The falls were almost dry because of the drought and you could walk all over the area. We walked around the falls a little while and then went to the park's bird blind and watched the hill country birds feeding. We sat out at camp again at night and had potluck dinner. It is supposed to rain tomorrow so we got everything packed away so it wouldn’t get wet.

11/4/2011





When we got up this morning it was 25 degrees. The water in the park was frozen but thankfully we had water in our tank. Jim and I hiked a short trail to Twin Falls. You couldn’t get close because the area was closed beyond the overlook and there was so much undergrowth you couldn’t even see them. The hike through the woods was fun though.

Henry and Debbie came into camp just as we were getting ready to leave for Blanco to go to the Real Ale Brewery. They got the site next to us. After sampling the beers at Real Ale, we went back to Johnson City to have a Real Ale 15th anniversary beer (they had it on tap). The brewer was cleaning the spent grain out of his mash tun.

When we got back to camp two of Henry and Debbie’s friends, Bill and Jackie, were there in their big rig and Jim and Karen were there with their Casita. They were a few sites down from everyone. Also Sonya who had just bought a Casita showed up. She had in the trailer with her a cat, two dogs and a bird. She didn’t let the office know she was meeting up with us and they assigned her a site clear on the other side of the campground. We all sat at Henry’s and had chili, veggies and dip, muffins, velveeta and rotel dip and chips and other snacks. It was kind of chilly so we used our gas grills for heat since there was a burn ban in effect.

11/3/2011





We left camp and drove to Pedernales Falls State Park to meet up with some other Casita people. On the way we passed through Bastrop. You could see the wild fire damage in the area. There were lots of burned trees and lots of empty slabs and rubble. When we got to Pedernales Falls, there was another Casita there. Bill and Jackie were from Canyon Lake and had bought Marv and Vicki’s Casita. After setting up we drove into Johnson City to a new brew pub called Pecan Street Brewing. It is just across from the courthouse on the square.

As we were leaving the campground, Paul and Reine were pulling in to the office and I told them where we were. When we returned they had set up camp next to the other Casita across from us.

11/2/2011




Jim, Elton and I had breakfast this morning in Dayton. We left and then drove to Lake Somerville and stayed at a Corps of Engineers campground. We usually stay at Yegua Creek Campground but they are doing some renovation on it. We drove down the road to Rocky Creek Campground. On the way here we passed Lake Conroe. We couldn’t believe how low it is. All of the houses along the shore have their piers totally out of the water. This lake is the same way. It has been down so long that plants are now growing where there used to be water. There are a lot of deer roaming in the campground. I don’t know how they find enough to eat.

11/1/2011




We got up and had coffee and then Linda, Gary, Jim and I went to Café Du Monde. We all had an order of beignets and café au lait. We then hooked up and drove to Liberty, Texas. We visited mother. My brother and my son came also. We gave my son some of the stuff out of the truck to hold for us. We took way too much with us and didn’t use half of it. We went to my brother’s house and spent the night. He had some really good soup and made some cornbread to go with it. Then we had ice cream.

Monday, October 31, 2011

10/31/2011



Bob baked cinnamon rolls for breakfast.We visited with him for a while and then we hooked up and drove about 50 miles down the road to Covington, Louisiana. This is where our friends Gary and Linda live. They used to live in West U and Gary was Jim’s boss. We talked a while at their house and had a beer. Then we went to a bar called the Barley Oak by Lake Pontchatrain. You could see the causeway from the balcony where we sat. It was beautiful and sunny today. We drove around a little more and then stopped by a store to buy some snacks. We went back to the house and had cheese, salami, grapes, veggies with dip and some crackers with wine. Later in the evening we went out for dinner at New Orleans Food and Spirits. The food was really good. Jim had red beans and rice with pork chops, Gary had fish and Linda and I had shrimp and grits. Linda had candy for trick or treaters tonight but by the time we got back from dinner no one came around. She will donate the candy to the church food bank. We camped in Gary and Linda's driveway.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

10/30/2011







Jim fixed pancakes for breakfast this morning. We left Meridian and drove to Diamondhead, Mississippi. We went to Bob and Pat Harko’s house where we set up the Casita in their driveway. They had picked up a t-shirt in Alaska for Jim and a cap for me at a brewery in Kodiak and since we didn’t go to the Pine Knot Rally we went by to get it. Pat was out of town so we had a nice visit with Bob. We talked awhile and then looked at their Alaska pictures.

We decided to go to a Diners Drive-ins and Dives place called The Shed for BBQ. Bob took us down Highway 90 from Diamondhead through Pass Christian, Bay St. Louis, Long Beach, Gulfport and Biloxi. This area has still not fully recovered from Hurricane Katrina. There are still a lot of empty lots for sale. Most have lonely looking cement slabs. Some on the water by the new bridge in Pass Christian have only partial docks left in the water. But you can see some new construction. It looks much better than when we came by here after Katrina. Along the way there was a beautiful sunset tonight and we snapped some pictures from the car. After eating, we went back to the house and had some wine. Bob made Cherries Jubilee.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

10/29/2011

A cold front came though last night and it rained. This morning it was beautifully clear so we took another picture of Stone Mountain. We left and drove through Alabama to Meridian, Mississippi. We got a campsite and then drove into town. This was the birthplace of Jimmie Rogers, an early country and western singer. We visited the local VFW post and also saw the Dentzel Carousel. This carousel was built in 1896 for the 1904 St. Louis exposition. The city of Meridian bought it in 1909 for $2,000 and it is now valued at over $1 million. It is housed in the only remaining carousel building built from Dentzel blueprints. In 1980 the city hired a famous restorer to restore it to the original paint -- It had about 3 coats on top of the original paint. It was closed to the public today for a three year old's birthday party but we got in to see it. Around town there are painted carousel horses.

Friday, October 28, 2011

10/28/2011





It was supposed to rain during the night and this morning and turn cooler but it never did. We drove to Stone Mountain Georgia. Jim had never seen it and I had been here about 26 years ago with Mom, Woodie and Allen. It has changed a lot since then. They now have an amusement park attached to it and were making snow for the seasonal snow slide. This mountain has the largest granite monolith relief in the world. Carved into the side of the mountain are Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee, and General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson. A 6 foot man could fit in the horse’s mouth. They have a gondola you can ride up to the top of the mountain.

After visiting Stone Mountain, we went to the American Legion Hall in Tucker and had a beer and talked to the people there. We went back to camp and I cooked dinner. Our campsite is on a lake in the 3,200 acre park. You can see the mountain and gondola from here. This is a Passport America Park. The Silverado turned over to 10,000 miles today. It has started to sprinkle at 6 pm tonight and should be cooler tomorrow. It was snowing today in the mountains of North Carolina and Virginia -- we left just in time.

10/27/2011


Jim went to get the oil changed at 9 am this morning. While he was gone I washed the sheets. We drove to Sumter National Forest near Abbeville, South Carolina and got a site at Parsons Mountain Lake Campground. Jim grilled a sliced leg of lamb and it was really good. We gathered some wood and had a fire after supper. There were only two other campers there and it was really quiet. The campground had flush toilets and hot showers. There were no hookups and the price was only $3.50 a night!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

10/26/2011








Jim bought tickets yesterday at the RV park for us to visit the Biltmore Estate. This house was built by George W. Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895. It is the largest privately owned house in the U.S. and the fourth largest in the world. It has 250 rooms and sits on 8,000 of the estate's original 125,000 acres. It is full of fabulous art, tapestries, furniture, sculpture, and antiques. Jim said his liberal economics professor at UT Austin would have called it "sickeningly opulent". We got there about 10 am this morning and left at 5 pm. We took the tour of the house using audio head sets. The audio detailed the rooms you were looking at while in the house. No pictures were allowed inside the house. After going through about 60 of the rooms we had some lunch at the Stable restaurant. This restaurant is in the old stables next to the house. The stable also houses some shops. There are a few different places to eat on the estate and they have everything from pizza to really fancy dinners. The estate has its own beer and a winery. We had a beer with lunch and later we did a wine tasting and bought two bottles. The employees were busy getting the house ready for Christmas and it was beginning to look really pretty.

After lunch we took a walk through the grounds and gardens which were designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, who also designed New York's Central Park and Boston Common. We left the estate and went to Hendersonville to a brewery named South Allegeny Brewing and had a beer. When we returned to the Casita we got our clothes together and went to wash them. We had 4 loads.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

10/25/2011




We left Walmart and drove to Fletcher, North Carolina, near Asheville. We got a site at a really pretty Passport America park on a little lake. We made an appointment with a local Chevy dealer to get the Silverado’s oil changed on Thursday morning. We found a barber shop and Jim got a badly needed haircut. The barber cut it very short so it should last a few months.

We drove into Asheville and went to four brewpubs. Ashville Brewing had a really good beer called Fire Escape. It was an ESB with jalapeno added. We went to Lab Brewing ( Lexington Avenue Brewing) and had a beer and a really good fresh baked pretzel with beer cheese sauce and mustard sauce. This brewery won a bronze medal from the GABF for their Brown Porter this year. They were out of it so we didn’t get to try it. The brewer told us he talked to the St. Arnold people at the airport while leaving Denver. We then went to Green Man Brewery, had a beer and talked to a couple that were home brewers from Tampa, Florida. They had previously lived in San Antonio, Texas. Then we went to Wedge Brewing, had a beer and talked to a man who worked for the city of Ashville. He was very knowledgeable about the Ashville brewing scene. There are four brewpubs and five microbreweries in this town of about 75,000 people.

10/24/2011







We got back on Sky Line Drive this morning and drove to the end. We only had 26 more miles of the 105 total miles to drive today. As Sky Line Drive ends, the Blue Ridge Parkway starts. The Blue Ridge is a total of 429 miles. We drove 106 miles of it today and got off near Roanoke, Virginia. We drove to Wythville, Virginia and stayed at the Walmart there. The sun came out around 1 pm and the colors of the trees were really lit up.