Friday, April 30, 2010

4/30/2010 The Longest Ride….

Eighty six miles. Up the road a piece. An hour and a half away. Ninety minute run up the road. No matter how you say it, it was the longest ride I’ve been on. It was the ride we took from Rehoboth Beach to Wilmington where my mom and dad live to see them for the first time in nearly two years.

We planned on going for about five days so I had to think of everything we could possibly need to take with us and get it packed. It’s so much easier when you just carry your whole house behind you.

We got on the road around 10:30 and headed north. We watched the scenery as we went and commented on all the new buildings that were there that weren’t the last time we were home. I kept an eye on the speedometer silently willing Bob to speed. If there was ever a time to go a few over the speed limit it was NOW! I have never known this ride to take so long.

Of course we had stops to make! Gas, beer, sodas, ice. You would think they didn’t sell any of these things north of the canal!

Finally, we were getting into the old neighborhood where everything was totally familiar and each little change stood out like a sore thumb. “Oh look, the Exxon station closed.”

After what seemed like an eternity we entered the town where my parents have lived for the past 57 years. The town where I grew up. We turned onto the street where their house is, the one I grew up in and I could hardly contain myself. Bob slowed down because another large truck was coming from the opposite direction and it took everything I had not to put my foot on his and push that gas pedal to the metal to get us past the last five houses before we were “home” again. I don’t think the truck came to a complete stop and I had my hand on the door handle. Of course we had to let the truck cool down just a bit before shutting it off so I waited ever so impatiently because I thought it best to at least try to wait for him. You can bet as soon as he turned that key I was outta there like a shot!

Mom and Dad were sitting in the enclosed front porch of the house and when I walked through that door I had the biggest lump in my throat. Mom got up and we wrapped our arms around each other and just stood there. Even at fifty six years of age there is no feeling like being held by your mother. Especially if you haven’t seen her for nearly two years. Dad’s hug was next and I felt so at home in his embrace.

We spent the rest of the afternoon, Dad and Bob on the porch, me and Mom at the kitchen table, catching up and just enjoying each other’s company.

Mom and Dad treated us to dinner at Michael’s, my favorite restaurant. Crab Imperial. Hmmm, hmmm, GOOD! I didn’t even need a menu I knew what I was having when I got in the car. This restaurant also has a great salad bar which we enjoyed.

Back at the house we continued talking until the wee hours of the morning.

Dorothy was right….THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

4/29/2010 We Meet a Very Interesting Couple!

Our first full day here in Delaware. If today is any indication of what kind of summer this is going to be then we’re in for a truly great summer!

We met the most fascinating couple today. Fred and Hitome, (heh-toe-me) Fred, 45, is from France and his girlfriend, Hitome, 42 hails from Japan.


They are on a round the world trek on BICYCLE! Granted, there are some sailing ships that help them along the way but on average they are pedaling 75 miles a day. I can’t even imagine! They made port in Miami just 20 days ago.

Bob was outside and Fred came over to him to ask a question about something or other and of course a conversation was struck. One thing Fred wanted to know was if there was a public microwave in the campground. He explained that he wanted to make dinner and Bob offered our place to get their dinner made.

I gladly boiled a pot of water for their box of rigatoni and cooked it up for them all the while having the most interesting conversation with Fred. He told me that retired from the French Navy and then went to work for L’Oreal the cosmetics firm. After a few years he quit and made his first leg in his round the world trek. You can follow his itinerary HERE. He was with Linda in those years, a former girlfriend. Back to work at L’Oreal for awhile more and call of the rolling bicycle wheel was calling him again. He resigned, once again, and took to the road. By the way, the rigatoni, that was dinner. No sauce, no salad, no garlic bread, just the pasta tossed with some spices Hitome brought from Japan. They have a long way to go, they need the carbs.

Everything they own is carried in plastic or canvas bags. Clothes, cooking utensils, cameras, food, shelter, EVERYTHING is carried on their bikes. I couldn’t do it. I get upset in our own journey when we don’t have cable TV. I can’t imagine putting up with all the elements of weather, of UPhills, crazy drivers without the shield of a big truck around me, oh no, their mode of traveling would not suit me at all.


Fred and Hitome took advantage of showers in the campground and came to visit with us again when they were ready to hit the road once again. They will pedal to Cape Henlopen State Park and board the ferry tomorrow to Cape May, New Jersey. Hitome has to take a break in her trip around the world to go back to Japan to work for two months and wants to see New York before she boards the plane or ship for the trip home. Hitome works four months out of the year as a technical proof reader. She works July and August and November and December if I remember correctly. She will meet up with Fred in January,,,,wherever he may be and their wheels will continue to turn together again.

They thanked us over and over again for cooking their pasta for them and we took pictures together and saw them on their way.


Where he’s been so far.


Oh yeah, they had Hitome’s bike repaired this morning. She’s only had one gear for the past 20 days.

So long Fred and Hitome, may the roads be flat, may the wind be at your back and may your sleeping bags never be sandy.




Wow, what an interesting couple we met today. I can’t wait to see who else we meet this summer.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

4/28/2010 When I Saw the Wawa….

When I saw the Wawa, I knew we were getting close to home. Wawa???? you say.


Wawa Markets are like a 7-11, only nicer, and a Mid-Atlantic staple. Between DE, PA, MD, NJ and VA there, are 576 stores. When I saw the first one in Virginia I knew we weren’t far from home then.

Soon we were crossing into Maryland,,,one state closer.


Traffic is really picking up now. This isn’t even rush hour, this is mid to late morning! We aren’t used to traffic like this.


The next milestone was crossing the Bay Bridge.


There is some construction/repairs going on to the bridge right now and I would NOT want to be the one in this bucket.


Uh-uh,,,not me!



Our first sign that said DELAWARE to us. We grew up in the suburbs of Wilmington.


Then it was signs directing us to the beaches area of the state where we’ll spend the summer.


Then we were sailing across the line and we were once again HOME!


Delaware: The Small Wonder, The First State, The Diamond State (because Thomas Jefferson said we were a “jewel” among the states because of our strategic location on the Eastern Seaboard) Home of Tax Free Shopping (NO sales tax! YAY!) All kinds of names, but the best one to us is….HOME.

Driving through a deserted Dewey Beach where in a few weeks the sidewalks and streets will be overflowing with the 20 something crowd.


Seeing the streets of this busy party beach town empty like this is downright eerie! I’ll get pics mid summer for comparison.


Our first glimpse of the bay, its windy today and its covered with white caps.


We had forgotten they were still building the new bridge over the Inlet but were quickly reminded by the cranes.


There has been a lot of controversy about this bridge as it was started a few years ago and had to be dismantled because it was determined that the wrong type of dirt was used as the base and wouldn’t hold up. They had to start all over again!

There is the Delaware State Seashore Park down below. A parking lot type facility very popular with beach goers. Campers that come to this park are interested in one thing,,,ok, two, going to the beach and fishing. That’s it, most campers are at the nearby ocean beach all day long or they are fishing. They’ll come back to eat, or not, shower, change clothes and then they are gone in the evenings to the boardwalks or one of the many nightclubs in the area. Because storage is needed in support of the bridge there doesn’t seem to be any tenting area like in years past. Should make this camp hosting job all the easier maybe.


We got into the campground, pulled into our pull thru space and when we got out of the truck it hit us! It’s cold! It’s damn cold! I ran in to get my WINTER JACKET!


There are about 10 rigs here so the park is empty. It seems we are the first ones here as far as camp hosts are concerned.

After getting set up it was time for dinner. Hmmm..what to have, what to have. Like there was any choice! A cheesesteak! So off to Casapulla’s we go. It seems a lot of geese have made this area home.


We had to get pretty close before they took flight.


Coming in we were so interested in looking at the progress of the bridge we didn’t even look at the ocean.


Or the beach. This section of the beach is the surfer’s beach and a fishing beach although some will come just to lay out have kids play at the water’s edge.


Eight miles later, we were at Casapulla’s.


To my Aunt Maryanne in Atlanta….is your mouth watering? Hmmm, lettuce, tomato, pickles, peppers and fried onions,,,,HEAVEN!


Yes, we are back HOME and so very glad to be here! It’s going to be a great summer!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

4/27/2010 One Last Stop In Virginia

We got as far as Front Royal, Virginia today.

On the way I saw so many scenes that would have made fabulous pictures but I was with Mr. Speed Racer himself. To be honest, Bob is a very careful driver and doesn’t drive at excessive speeds but when trying to take pictures at sixty miles an hour may just as well be six hundred miles an hour. Especially when you just catch a glimpse of a mama horse and her colt just standing in the doorway of this big old weathered barn. It was a scene just screaming, PHOTOGRAPH ME! By the time I got turned in the seat and the camera up to focus well, it was a half mile back! Bob just doesn’t take well to me screaming, S T O P! So instead I get pics like this as we drive down the highways and byways. Ho-hum…..


Traffic picked up significantly as we drove the beltway around Washington D. C..


We couldn’t believe some of the crazy drivers we saw in this area. Cars passing others and just one foot past the other whipping in front of the car to change lanes. So many near misses! I saw one woman holding a plate in one hand and a fork in the other eating a meal while driving! Hey, there’s a time and a place and lady, this ISN’T it! I could have gotten a picture but I was so dumbfounded at what I watching I never gave it a thought to snap one.

We pulled into North Fork Resort in Front Royal for the night. This is Passport America park which means we pay only 50% of the going rate. In this case we paid $20.00. I can tell you I wouldn’t have paid the forty. This is a destination park, one where people would go for a week’s or two week’s vacation as they had the pools, the volley ball courts, a dozen horseshoe pits, mini golf and lots of planned activities for both kids and adults. That is all well and good and I’m sure its lots of fun but there is NO room between sites. Our slide out practically touched the rig next to us. I think if one sneezed your neighbor would say “God bless you”. We just don’t like being so crowded like that. But for a stay over for one night I guess it was ok. As it turned it we never saw our neighbor so I’m thinking this was a rig that is here for the season and the owners are home until the weekend.

One more day on the road…..

Monday, April 26, 2010

4/26/2010 …and the Winds Blew and Rains Came

We woke up this morning to storm conditions. It rained. The winds blew. It was cold. The storm had arrived. Oh great.

We called the campground lady to let her know we would be staying yet another night. Another $28.50.

We didn’t do much of anything. It was raining so hard there was no sense in even trying to go out, not that there was anywhere to go.

It’s suppose to pass tonight and be nice tomorrow. We’re hoping so, its time to get on the road again.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

4/25/2010 Visiting Family

As it turns out we were only 32 miles from Bob’s sister, Kathy, who lives in Tennessee. It had been years and years since we’ve been to her home so we called her on Friday to let her know we were here and to make sure she was going to be home today.

We agreed that we would meet at one. As luck would have it her husband, Sonny, had just gone back to work the day before after being off for three and a half months due to a workplace injury. Sonny was out on the road so we missed seeing him by just one day.

It was wonderful seeing Kathy again as we figured it out it had to be six or seven years since we last saw her. Like a lot of families we see each at funerals and weddings. We spent a good amount of time bringing each other up to date on all the goings on in the Quinn family.

Kathy has one son who lives in the same town so he came over to see us. We hadn’t seen “Chopper” in ten years. He’s not the young, single, twenty something anymore but all grown up with a family of his own. We were sorry we didn’t get to see brother Steven or his sister Tootie but they don’t live in the area. Yep, Chopper and Tootie. I know Chopper’s real name is Clay because it's in his email address but for the life of me I can’t remember Tootie’s given name. I guess I’m not surprised I can probably name dozens of people who don’t remember MY real name because all they ever hear is the nickname.

The several hours we spent visiting went all too fast. I do believe we have a future RV’er in the family in Steven. He’s always wanted to travel and after talking with Uncle Bob he knows that he wants an RV now.

After hugs and handshakes and some picture taking we were on our way.


Kathy cuts all this lawn with an old fashioned SELF propelled push mower. Better you than me Kath!


We’re going to get on the road tomorrow. As luck would have it the weather system we’ve been waiting for and riding out never did materialize, we’ve had nice weather! Will we ever learn NOT to pay several days in advance? Actually, for the most part we seldom do that but the weatherman was soooo convincing that big storms were on the way that we were convinced that we should stay put for three days.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

4/22 – 4/24/2010 Two States, One Town

We’ve gotten as far as Bristol, Virginia and have been waylaid by the weather. The weatherman says terrible storms are headed this way and we thought it best to get off the road and just hunker down for a few days. Besides, we’re tired of spending so much time in the truck. He’s tired of driving and I’m tired of riding.

So we ended up in the Lee Highway Campground on, you guessed it, Lee Highway. We are just three miles from the Virginia/Tennessee border so there is also a Bristol, Tennessee.

On Saturday we decided to get pizza for dinner and we ordered from the local Domino’s. I went to pick it up and while waiting the last few minutes I asked the fellow behind the counter what there was to see in the area. He thought for a minute and then his face lit up and he said, “Get back on the Interstate going south and get off at Exit 3.” (we are right off exit 5) “At the end of the ramp turn right and get onto Main Street. When you get to the middle of Main Street you’ll see a bright yellow line painted down the middle of the street. That’s the state line between Tennessee and Virginia!” I just looked at him expectantly waiting for more. That was it. The line between the states is painted in bright yellow down the middle of the road. That’s all this area we are in has to offer. Now of course it would be a different story if NASCAR was racing here right now. Bristol Race Track is here on the Tennessee side of the town.

The campground we’re in…. somehow that word doesn’t really describe where we’re at. It isn’t much more than five rows of a dozen or so parking sites for RV’s. BUT, its nicely kept, its close to the small downtown area and its close to the Interstate but I think its overpriced at $28.50 a night including tax. With not much else in the area that we could find in our books we really didn’t have much choice. I would say that most of the RV’s here are parked on a more permanent basis but I would imagine that not a space could be had for an RV that was passing through this area on a race weekend.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

4/19-4/21/2010 On the Road Again

It’s time to leave San Antonio. We didn’t see nearly everything we wanted to but then we weren’t counting on all the rain either. There is still lots more to see in this area so we’ll put this on our ever growing list of places to come back to.

This was certainly a nice FamCamp we were in and the spaces for each RV was fairly large.


We weren’t on the road all that long and we had a problem. When we were in Austin Bob had noticed that the hose going to the turbo thing-y was kinked. (This was installed new less than a month ago by the Ford dealership in Casa Grande) He took it off, shortened it and put it back on. All was good. We are also keeping an eye on a tire that isn’t wearing evenly at all. So we’re going down the road and we both hear this noise. We both lean forward and it sounds like a “whining sound” and then a we heard a loud pop. My first thought was the tire. Bob said, “No, it’s not the tire, its the turbo hose.” He got us safely off the road, lifted the hood, got out the stepladder, some wrenches and sockets, a screwdriver, a piece of canvas to put over the hot engine and started working on it. In about 15 minutes he was putting the stepladder away and we were on our way again. A hundred miles down the road we stopped to check it and it was nearly off again. He got everything out again, fixed again and we were off yet again. Every stop we made he checked it again but it seems he got it on just right and its holding.

As we were going through the most eastern part of Texas we took note of the these YELLOW fields! BUTTERCUPS!


Thousands and thousands of buttercups.


It wasn’t long before we were in Louisiana.


We weren’t in this state at all before we were back in Arkansas.


We spent the night in some non-descript campground (I say that because now, a few days later when I’m writing this, neither one of us can remember it)

Tuesday brought us a pretty day and hoses and tires were holding. We found the Gator Den RV Park to spend the night in our Woodall’s Campground Book and I called ahead to make sure there is room. I talked to the owner of the campground and could not understand a word he said with that very pronounced southern drawl. Actually, I did catch a couple of them, I heard road construction and detour. That is never good. It took another phone call before we were able to find it. During the second the call I repeated everything he said as he said it so that Bob could have an idea of where we were going too. He told us to pick a spot and get set up and that he would be over in the evening to collect the $20.00 nightly fee.

We found it with no problem and we were set up in no time. We have this down to a science practically and within a half hour of pulling in we are both sitting at our computers or watching TV with everything that has to be done,,,,done. We are GOOD!

So we’re hanging out and we hear a knock at the door. I go to the door and I invited him in and for the next 45 minutes we learned so much about Randy. His father-in-law is the one who built the campground but has now handed it over to Randy to run and take care of. It’s not a huge campground but it has a nice sized pond that is stocked.


Randy is so friendly! We talked about campgrounds, politics, raising three boys on his own, education today and a multitude of other subjects. One that was especially fun was the weather. There has been a lot of talk on local TV about tornadoes and of course the subject came up. The conversation turned to why tornadoes seem to always target trailer parks. Randy has his own thoughts on this subject and he shared them with us. Here’s how it went.

He explained that tornadoes take out much more than just a trailer park. It can take a roof off the garage or the roof off a of a $400,000 home but we’ll never hear about it. A tornado can take a piece of construction equipment that belongs to a well to do construction company and turn it on its side and ruin it, but we’ll never hear about it. The news people won’t go to talk to the well groomed gentleman in the sports coat and slacks about his ruined equipment. The news people won’t talk to the well coiffed, well dressed lady of the house who lost the roof. Oh no, the news people will search out the 300 pound woman with the missing front tooth, her dirty hair pulled straight back in a rubber band, wearing a pair Daisy Dukes and no bra with a tight, dirty, pink T-shirt with the word S E X Y written in glitter across the front. She is one they will talk to as they stand in front of what once was a mobile home. Of course the 64 Fairlane is still in place, untouched. You know the one, the right front side is resting on a cinder block, the hood is raised, weeds are growing out of the driver’s side window and the rear quarter panel is missing. Yep, this is who you will see on the news.

Oh my gosh, we laughed so hard at this.

Randy is probably one of the friendliest people we have ever met. He’s even easier to understand when standing in the same room with him and we thoroughly enjoyed our time with him. So if you are ever driving through El Dorado, Arkansas and need a place to park the RV for a night, by all means, stop at the Gator Den, its twenty bucks well spent.

Wednesday took us past fields and fields of corn breaking through the ground.


We saw smoke down the road before we could see what was causing it. Seems as though there was an accident between a train and a car. Oh, this brought back memories!


We were back in buttercup country again.


Here the ground seems to be solid yellow.


LaVon….I found a dead tree for you!


We passed over the state line to Tennessee while on a bridge as the river separates Arkansas from Tennessee.


It was an easy run today and we made it further than what we thought we would. We finally pulled in to a campground in Denmark, TN. A nice little campground with exceptionally nice owners. Bob asked the man who was cleaning out the sewer lines how far a walk it would be to the liquor store, that we knew was on the same road, since he was out of beer. The fellow, who happened to be the owner, said, “It’s walkable but you don’t have to, just take my truck, the keys are in it.” I guess he figured it was a good bet that Bob was coming back.

So there’s the first three days of this week. I’ll get caught up sooner or later.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

4/18/2010 The Alamo & a Whole Lot More #5

After lots of laughs and getting our tummies full it was time for more exploring.

First stop was the city square where the San Fernando Cathedral is located.


San Fernando Cathedral was founded in 1731 and is the oldest, continuously functioning religious community in the State of Texas. The Cathedral building has the added distinction of being the oldest standing church building in Texas, and for all of its more than 275 years.

Bonnie and I went inside while the guys settled into chairs to watch the activities in the square.

Imagine our surprise when we walked in the door and the first thing we see is a coffin type structure.


As it turns out, it IS a coffin for not one, but three men. None other than David (Davy) Crockett, Jim Bowie and William Travis of Alamo fame are interred in this coffin. Their bodies were exhumed in 1936, viewed for one year and then their remains were placed in this coffin.


This beautiful wood carving was at the entrance where we went into the main part of the cathedral.


I don’t especially like taking pictures inside of churches because to me that is such a place of reverence. BUT…at the same time, I can’t help myself because they are each so unique and beautiful.



Stained glass windows….need I say more?


Out in the courtyard we watched this young girl throw a coin in the fountain.


Back out in the city square we found the guys seated at a table watching all the goings on.


We watched these kids play in this fountain area for quite awhile. They were having so much fun!





We took notice of this pigeon too. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen one with this coloring.


As we were sitting with the guys this fellow with two parrots on his shoulders came into the square.

He asked this youngster to hole one end of a rope and he held the other and in the middle was the larger parrot. Next thing we know they are turning the rope like a jump rope and the parrot is holding on for dear life!



Then he held the rope by himself and swung the parrot on the end of the rope like a lasso.



Then his “tricks” were much more tame.


This little girl wasn’t too sure about all of this.



It was here where the guys and girls split up. Bonnie and I wanted to walk more of the River Walk and the men wanted to walk through the city. We agreed on a time we would meet back at the trucks. So off we went.

Rather than try to explain each picture I’ll just let them talk for themselves.



Remember how I mentioned that restaurants line the River Walk? Well believe me when I say no space goes wasted. Here is a restaurant situated under one of the foot bridges that crosses over the river.











We passed this fellow who was getting ready to enjoy a lobster boil.




This was our day on the San Antonio River Walk. We enjoyed the day oh so much more because we shared it with Bonnie and John.


What a great day!