Happy Traveler RV Park

SAM_1719This isn’t a bad little campground for pulling it out of the hat!  SAM_1722There are lots of live oak trees (I think) dripping with Spanish moss, but we got a spot in a clear section that gets lots of sun (feels great!) and good reception for our Dish.  There are lots of permanent residents, which we don’t particularly favor, but they keep their spots neat and updated, so they aren’t too bad.  There is another Entegra here for the winter, and still another for a few days.

Clubhouse with my bike parked out front

Clubhouse with my bike parked out front

SAM_1716

SAM_1715There is a clubhouse that is used for social activities, and is neat as a pin.  On certain days, lunch and dinner are served.  SAM_1718Not sure how this occurred, but there is a plant growing out of the cut branch of one of the live oak trees.  SAM_1724Across the street is the Big Top Flea Market.  It seems that there are lots of flea markets in Florida!  I guess they call it that because there is a central round building with spokes going out from it holding all the booths.  They are enclosed, so safe from glaring sun and rain.  Only open Saturday and Sunday, though, but you can be sure I will be reporting on a visit!

I got John to the airport and he arrived home without incident.  He called me from the hospital Monday morning to report on his mom, and it wasn’t good.  She didn’t recognize him, which broke his heart.  But, at least he was there with her.  It was decided that she would be moved back to the Care Center at Friendship Village, which they were able to do by Monday evening.  John told Richard and Martha to come home as soon as possible.  They were able to fly in the next day and they all spent some time with mom.  I wish I could have been there with them, but John wanted me to stay with the coach as he didn’t want to leave it unattended.  To be honest, I had mentally said my goodbye to her before we left as I wasn’t sure if I would see her again.  I’m so glad they were there as mom passed away in her sleep at 4 the next morning.  She was 98.

Fortunately, many of her final arrangements were already in place.  John, Richard and Martha would be taking care of her personal effects while they were home.  They wanted to accomplish everything before the end of the month so that her apartment could be made available to someone else, and John did not want to have to go back once he was in Florida again.  It’s been a long week for me here, knowing all they were going through at home.  I felt helpless.

One thing this quiet time was good for…I did get caught up with my writing!  I’ve really not done much exploration of the area, thinking I would wait for John to return and do it with him.  I’ve been to the Big Top flea market (not as good as the one in Bonita Springs from last year), to the grocery store, church, done some reading and housekeeping.  As I write this, I am waiting for our dear friends from home, Tom and Sherry to stop in.  They came up this way to visit the cemetery where Sherry’s parents are buried which is not too far from here.  It will be good to see them and catch up.  Since it is Sunday, we will probably go to brunch!  The next time you hear from me will be after John returns on Tuesday.

 

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Tampa Super RV Show & the Entegra Coach Owners Assn (ECOA) Rally, January 13-17, 2015

The good thing about staying in Travelers’ Rest Campground in Dade City was that it was only about 40 miles to the Florida State Fairgrounds where the Super Show and Rally were being held.  We dallied around and got organized in the morning until we had to check out at 11.  We had no idea of what to expect as far as traffic since there was supposed to be over 700 RVs in the camping area.  We thought all the incoming roads would be a parking lot.  We knew we were supposed to be in our staging area at 2 pm where all the Entegra coaches (23 of them!) were going to gather and register.  We figured we better get going.

SAM_1681 SAM_1679We were pleasantly surprised at how easily we got to the Fairgrounds and into the holding area.  Actually, we were too early, and they had to find a place for us to park.  SAM_1683At 1:30, a bunch of Entegras started showing up and getting in line.  And then we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  We were told we would be parked by 6pm.  As it turned out, because of all the rain, the ground was saturated and they were having trouble parking the coaches on the grass.  We ended up spending the night lined up on the asphalt and were told to be ready to roll at 7:30 am.  John set his alarm but neglected to designate “am” so it didn’t go off, and he/we were really hopping in the morning.  SAM_1688They had to put us into another area, on the grass, but at least we would all be together.  It was great to see 3 long rows of Entegras!!

After all the confusion, we got settled, said “Hello” to our Entegra friends, and headed off to the Super Show.  When they say, “Super”, they mean it.  It was huge, and very confusing, even with a map.  We thought about riding our bikes over but were glad we didn’t as there were just too many people to maneuver around.  And, we were in and out of RVs and exhibits.  Would have just been a headache minding them.  We headed over to the LazyDays section where they were showing and selling the Entegras to see what was new.  Several of the Entegra executives were there, answering questions from the prospective customers.  They were available for the whole show, which says a lot for their commitment to their product and customer relations.

We were invited to a cocktail party by our salesman, Robin McCracken and held by our dealer, RVOne, that night at the Tampa Marriott.  Robin is a great salesperson and has kept in touch with us, keeping us up to date on the happenings in the RV world.  There were delicious heavy hors d’ovures and dueling pianos for entertainment that was lots of fun.  It was just what we needed to relax and get into the Florida mood.

The next day (Wednesday) was more of the same.  There were still many areas of the Show to see.  Even with all the new coaches and other manufacturers, we remain very happy with our Entegra coach.  It was a good choice for us.  That night, Entegra held the first of two Owner Appreciation Dinners at The Columbia.  We could choose between Wednesday or Thursday as they were entertaining so many people the restaurant couldn’t hold everyone at once.  I was so surprised to see over 200 people on our night, and the next night would be the same.  Not only were just the people from the Rally there, but Entegra owners who were camping in the area were included.  The Columbia is the oldest restaurant in Florida, and the largest Spanish restaurant in the world.  It was started in 1905 by a Cuban immigrant, Casimiro Hernandez, Sr. and developed into quite a business by his family.  The food was different and delicious.

While we were visiting the exhibits on Wednesday, John received a phone call from Friendship Village, where his mom lives.  They had found her collapsed on her bed in the morning and were taking her to the hospital.  She was unresponsive and they weren’t sure what had happened.  John’s brother Richard, and sister-in-law Marty, were at their condo in St. Petersburg, so no one was in Pittsburgh.  At least Jeff could talk to the doctors and get the full medical scoop. There wasn’t much news and we weren’t sure of what to do.  We were making contingency plans in case John needed to fly home immediately.  Someone from our Entegra friends could help drive me and the coach to the campground we arranged for at the end of the Show for the last two weeks in January, which was only 10 miles away if necessary.  I KNEW I should have taken my licensing test before we left home.  Fortunately, the Tampa airport was not far, either.  We decided to monitor the situation until we had more information although it was decided that no lifesaving measures were to be taken as per her wishes and Living Will.  If any of you, dear readers, don’t have one in place, please get one.  It is one of the most loving things you can do for yourself and your family.

There was not much change overnight, and the consensus was that she had had a stroke.  She was pretty much unresponsive the first day but starting to come around the second day.  Her speech was gibberish.  John decided he must go home, and the plan was made to stay for the remainder of the show, get me and the coach settled at the campground, and fly home on Sunday.

Thursday, we just wandered around aimlessly.  We were so distracted.  We took ourselves out to dinner at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino food court.  I would like to go back there to take advantage of their buffet.  The place is huge.  While I like to gamble, I don’t like to lose.  So, we didn’t take time to play any games.  It wouldn’t have been fun that day, anyway.  SAM_1685In the evening, we all gathered for a Happy Hour at 5, and stayed well into the dark when we all got too cold.  Everyone brought a dish to share, and it was fun making new friends.  It is so surprising how many people are living in their coaches full time.

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Only part of the circle

Friday was the last day.  More of the same, and another Happy Hour.  There were over 50 people since some were potential Entegra owners that were invited from the Entegra display at the show during the day.  One thing that makes Entegra so attractive is the “family” atmosphere amongst the owners.  Tonight,

Joyce, The Best

Joyce, The Best

Joyce, the head of Customer Service,

Tadd

Tadd

Tadd, the President of the company,

Pat

Pat

Pat, head of Product Development, and several other Entegra department heads were going to stop by for some relaxation.

One of the service vans

One of the service vans

Since there are so many Entegra snowbirds, Entegra dispatched two service vans with techs to be available for owners who may need help or service.  We were glad they were there since our windshield day shade went nuts and needed to be re-programmed.  They probably could have walked us through it over the phone, but it was nice that they were there to do it.  Have I mentioned how wonderful their warranty service is?

On Saturday morning, it was time to start preparing to move out.  I know John was particularly antsy to get going.  I’d made a plane reservation for him for Sunday, and he wanted to get to the campground, set us up, and get ready to go.  After saying our goodbyes, It was unbelievably easy to get out of the fairgrounds.  I’d imagined a mass exodus, but people had begun leaving the day before, and there was no traffic.  As I’d mentioned, the next campground, Happy Traveler was only about 10 miles away.  We were on our way in no time.

Snowbirds

I never thought I would admit it, but I think we have become snowbirds! Without Harvey, I don’t think we would have felt the need to escape the winter as I really do like the season, and John never has complained except he doesn’t like dirty cars. But this year, we thought we would get an early start and head south for the Tampa Super RV Show & the Entegra Coach Owners Assn (ECOA) Rally, January 13-17, 2015.

John’s main concern was if the coach was going to start. We’d been having single digit temps for several days, and diesel will gel and make engines hard to start. But, Harvey started up like a champ. Could be because he was nestled between two other rvs and2015-01-10_08-38-02_137 protected from the winds. We had decided to drive him to our house to load, a change from what we had done in the past. We used to load up Red (the Honda toad) at home and drive to the parking facility and load up Harvey there. This time, John wanted to de-winterize before taking off, and we needed water to do that, so we decided to do that at home as well as loading up there. In the end, we didn’t de-winterize because he was afraid that the water in the lines would freeze en route. We would just do it when we were further south in the first night’s campground. But, it sure was easier 2015-01-10_10-46-16_256loading from home!! I just never wanted to do it before because I thought neighbors would object to us blocking the road. There was plenty of room to drive around the coach, and we weren’t there for more than a couple of hours. I think that will be our new plan from now on.

Our first concern was getting over the West Virginia mountains. Fortunately, the day we picked to depart was sunny and dry although very cold. 2015-01-10_09-04-46_357Harvey had quite a lot of snow on his roof which made for a spectacular sight going down the highway.  Since we like to drive about 300 to 350 miles per day (or 6 hours max, whichever comes first!), we planned our first stop for the night at Ft. Chiswell RV Park in Max Meadow VA. We texted our friends and fellow Entegra owners Mike and Jeanne that we were on our way and would be passing their farm off I-79 shortly. And, there they were, at the top of the hill waving a flag as a send-off! We gave them a honk with the air horns which they said they heard from the interstate. We would be seeing them in March during Bike Week when they would be joining us at Willow Lakes Resort there.  We pulled in to Ft. Chiswell at around 5, which was good since it was still light. There was a Flying J/Pilot right at the intersection so we filled up before the big rush in the morning. We would be ready to get an early start in the morning.

SAM_1677We were directed to a site that was right next to Harvey’s twin!  That’s us in the dirty rig on the left.  We got parked and set up and he told me to let out the slides while he talked to the owner of the other RV.  I did the rear slides and was extending the front slides when all of a sudden I heard a loud “clunk”.  I stopped the slide immediately and told John but he didn’t see an obstruction and told me to keep going.  Heard the “clunk” again.  I retracted the slide no problem then let it out again.  Clunk.  Went back to investigate only to find that one of the drawers in the lighted hutch had not been latched and slid out in transit.  SAM_1711 SAM_1675The slide was catching on it and crushed the drawer box.  Once we got the drawer back in, the slide extended with no problem.  Those slide motors are powerful!  But, our drawer was toast.  The drawer front was still ok, so good thing the Entegra Warranty and Service gurus were going to be at the Super Show.  Maybe we could get it resolved there.  A bad end to a good day.

Next stop was New Green Acres RV Park in Walterboro SC.  We were glad that we had filled up the night before since the Flying J was jammed with truckers in the morning. The park had tall pine trees throughout that dropped huge pinecones.  It was an uneventful day with easy on/off access to the Interstate.  It was getting warmer and cloudier.  Easy driving.

Last stop before Tampa was Travelers Rest Resort and Golf Course in Dade City FL.  It was not our original choice for the night as it looked to be a ways off the Interstate.  There were thunderstorms and heavy rains almost all day and the first place we stopped was saturated with water.  We were afraid we would get stuck since the parking was on grass.  Travelers Rest had space for us so we went there.  We were really impressed with how beautiful it was, even in the rain.  There were seasonal and permanent residents, and temporary spaces in a separate area.  When we got to our spot, we were dismayed to find that it was a grassy area on a slight slope.  We were able to get in ok, but would we be able to get out?  Our neighbors were very helpful and guided us into our space.  We had an uneventful, quiet evening, which we needed very much.  The next morning as we headed out, John was spinning wheels and unable to climb the slope, so we had to back out.  No incidents, and we were on our way.  After the drawer mishap, enough with the stress!  Next stop, Tampa State Fairgrounds and the RV Super Show and Entegra Coach Owners Assn. (ECOA) Rally.

 

Camp Entegra, 20-25 Oct 2014

After staying in electric-only parking for a week, we wanted a full service campground for the weekend.  We were able to make reservations for the weekend at the Shipshewanna North Park Amish Log Cabin Campground.  Most of the campgrounds were closed for the season already, and it was the last weekend for this one.  It was a very quiet campground with no cable TV and too many trees for our Dish network, so we ended up reading in the evenings.  That was ok with us.  Shipshewanna (don’t you just love that name?!) is the next town over from Middlebury, right in the heart of Indiana Amish country.  Most of the workers in the Entegra factory are Amish, both men and women known for their skills and work ethics.  Entegra only one of the many manufacturers of RVs in the area.

Our reason for going to the factory was to get our PDI, or Post Delivery Inspection.  There is a 2 year warranty on new Entegras and it is recommended that the PDI be done 18 months into the warranty.  This usually corrects minor (and sometimes major) problems and updates some systems.  Since our warranty will be up in March of 2015, it was time.  We had our punch list ready.

After a quiet weekend in the campground, we left around noon to go over to Camp Entegra.  Once again, there was only 50 amp power, but there was a sewer dump and water on site if we needed it.  Actually, being at Camp Entegra was a little easier since there was a men’s and women’s shower area.  Water would not have to be preserved as carefully.

Parked in the Customer Service area

Parked in the Customer Service area

That's us on the far right

That’s us on the far right

There were already several coaches parked in the lot so we grabbed a space and set up.  It was great to meet some of the other owners, some of whom we felt we already knew because of our activity on the irv2.com forum.  As it turned out, we could have spent the weekend in the Entegra parking lot, but there is a lot to be said for being comfortable in a full service campground since we were going to be dry camping for the coming week.  After setting up, we ooohed and ahhhed everyone’s coach’s upgrades and modifications, and just generally had a good afternoon.  We were early to bed since we knew the techs would be knocking on our door at 6:30 am sharp to take our coach.

And, they were right on time!  We were up and dressed and ready for them.  Then what?  It was still dark!  Fortunately, the Customer Service area had very comfortable seating and couches with complimentary coffee, so we staked out a spot there and hooked up to to their wifi.  After a couple of hours, we headed out to get some breakfast, then back to CS to chat with other owners.  Our coach was returned to us between 2:30 and 3 each day since so many of the Amish workers had to get home to tend to their farms and animals.  Talk about a long, hard day’s work!  But, it worked for us since we could relax for the rest of the day and evening.  Since there were no trees in the parking lot, our Dish worked perfectly.  Each morning’s schedule was the same…the tech arriving by 6:30 and returning our coach in mid afternoon.  Since we had Red, we were able to get out and about to explore the area more fully than we had when we were there in January.  I am fascinated with the Amish lifestyle, and everyone we met, although reserved, was respectful and kind.  I wish the whole world was like that.

On Tuesday, we went to the Shipshewanna Auction Restaurant on the Flea Market and Auction grounds for an Amish lunch.  It was plain fare (no pun intended); not fancy but hot.  John had a hamburger and I had a grilled cheese.  Generally, we found the food to be fresh, hearty, but otherwise unexceptional.  I was disappointed.  Big meals usually were served family style to provide needed calories for the farmers and workers who worked so very hard.  But, not for those of us who were sitting around all day!  There were some great bakeries, though, like the Rise’n’Roll which we visited twice!  I mentioned them in the last Middlebury post. After lunch in the Auction Restaurant, we visited the Flea Market.  It was a cold, miserable day, but it was the last week for the Flea Market in the season, so I wanted to see it.  Most of the exhibitors were not there, but I understand it is really fun in the summer.  We did some additional shopping around town, which had some really cute shops.  SAM_1602 SAM_1603 SAM_1606One in particular, a thankful heart, had wonderful handmade items from artists from around the midwest.  While I’m not a big fan of country primitive, the items were very unusual, and their marketing very creative.  Check out the bag with a heart cutout!

Have you ever eaten Chinese food in Amish country?  We did!  I love Chinese, and really had a hankerin’ for some so we went to the Bamboo Garden.  Our meals were ok, but heard unfavorable reports from others which was surprising since they had 4 stars.  They were Chinese cooks, though; not Amish!  Wednesday turned out to be a beautiful day so we decided to visit the Menno-Hof Museum in Shipshewanna.  SAM_1616I mentioned I was fascinated with the Amish lifestyle, so the Menno-Hof was just the place to visit since it was all about the Amish-Mennonite story.  It was extremely well done and I would recommend it highly.  SAM_1611 SAM_1617The day was so beautiful and the colors on the trees outside the museum were so vivid that I have to include them here.  We spent the whole afternoon there before going back to our coach.

I had noticed ads for a play at the local Blue Gate TheaterSAM_1610Josiah for President was playing, and I thought it would be fun to see.  Amazingly, all performances were sold out except for 4:30 Thursday afternoon!  So, we purchased tickets and went to the Blue Gate.  The Blue Gate is more than a theater; it is a restaurant, gift shop and hotel as well.  It is very well done, and many tourists were there.  I did not see any Amish other than those who were working there.  Everyone else must have been at their jobs or farms.  I don’t know if they are theater-goers, but we did see them patronizing Amish restaurants, and, strangely enough, a Mexican restaurant!  The play was wonderful.  It was about an Amish man who was persuaded to run for US president, and won, based on his basis homespun values.  The story was interesting, music was great, and the actors very talented.  We surely did not expect to be so entertained.It was a long play at 2+ hours, so by the time we got back to the coach, it was after 7, and we were tired and hungry.  We called it an early night since we would be getting up very early again the next day for the last day in the shop.

On Friday, we just hung around Customer Service.  John and Dave, one of the guys we met online, decided to take a little trip and go to the nearby Newmar factory for a tour.  They are a competitor of Entegra’s and it is always good to see the competition and know what you are getting.  They returned with a conviction that they had purchased the right coach!  Dave was fighting a cold, and John picked up his germs, since he had a relapse once we returned home.  Bummer.  Our coach and tech returned mid-afternoon, and the tech went over our punch list with us.  Everything had been addressed, plus some things not on the list.  We were as good as new, and ready to go.

We had about a 6 1/2 hours drive back home, so we wanted to get started by 10 the next morning.  That would give us time to unload, unpack, and get settled at home again.  And, so we did!  Next time out will be in January when we head to Florida.  Stay tuned!

Spartan/Entegra Class, 13-17 October 2014

Before I start this post, I must admit that I’ve failed again to keep up with events.  As I write this, it is after Christmas, 2014!  Truth be told, I never really got a chance to sit down and collect my thoughts until now.  And, we will be off and running to Florida again in a couple of weeks, and I will be writing a whole new round of pages.  So, thanks to all the receipts and pictures I’ve organized,  I think I can bring this up to date!

After leaving Gettysburg, our plan was to be in Charlotte, Michigan in time for the Spartan Chassis Academy specifically for Entegra Owners which was to begin on 13 October and end on the 17th.  This and the PDI (Post Delivery Inspection) at Entegra were primarily the reasons for the October outing.  Spartan had to be booked a year in advance!  Since we were going to be roughing it a little for the week (only electric supplied in the Spartan parking area, no water or sewer) we decided we would stay in a nearby campground with full service for the weekend. SAM_1394The ride from Gettysburg was just beautiful with all the fall leaves in full color.  We found Camp Turkeyville RV ResortSAM_1527 in a search, and, it being a beautiful fall weekend, we were very lucky to book the last big rig drive through spot.  But, the spot was not without some excitement.

Digging down to the break

Digging down to the break

In the spot directly across from us, a camper vacating the spot forgot to disconnect his water hose and drove off, pulling the plumbing out of the ground.  Fortunately, they were able to get a plumber and backhoe in to repair the damage very quickly. And, the driver said it wasn’t her fault!!   What a goofy name for a campground, huh?  SAM_1532We expected to see a turkey farm nearby but there was nothing but quiet farmland around a lake.  They did serve a full turkey dinner every day with all the trimmings!  There was a dinner theater, ice cream parlor, gift shop, pavilion, playground, fishing pond, and more.  SAM_1523 SAM_1518 SAM_1516The weekend we were there, there was a flea market going on, and haunted house in the barn in anticipation of Halloween.

GMC customized vans

GMC customized vans

In addition to all that activity, there was a rally for older customized vans/rvs.  I think they were GMC vehicles.  Once we were set up, we took a walk to view the flea market and get an ice cream cone.  SAM_1537We came back to watch the finishing touches on the plumbing repair, and visited with our very nice next door neighbor until almost dark.  It was getting chilly, so we spent the rest of the evening inside.  John was still recuperating, and was tired.  Saturday was an uneventful day so we just enjoyed the area and weather, and prepared to leave early the next morning for Camp Spartan.

SAM_1539

The Lineup

We only had a 12 mile drive to Charlotte and the Spartan complex.  The weather was turning chilly and cold but no matter since we would be inside most of the time.  There were 7 coaches and owners scheduled for the week, so we would have very specialized attention.  We were lined up in the upper parking lot, connected to 50 amp power but no water or sewer.  We would have to “rough it”.  SAM_1538We were delighted to find that our assigned space was right next to Mike and Jeanne, our Entegra friends from home.  That’s them on the left, and us on the right.  Since all the coaches were Entegras, it was fun getting to know everyone, some of whom we had already “met” in the online forum of irv2.com. We mostly enjoyed having a glass of wine and snacks with Mike and Jeanne in the evenings.

SAM_1559

Conference Room

Spartan is the chassis on which the coaches are built.  Once they are built to Entegra’s specs, they are shipped to Middlebury IN where they are then built in the the various models of Entegra coaches.  It is important to know how the chassis is built and works so that the proper maintenance may be done as well has having some knowledge in case of an emergency or problem on the road.  Bright and early Monday morning we met in the conference room to get our schedule for the week, and have a very nice and more than adequate continental breakfast.  We were to be served 4 breakfasts and lunches.  The lunches were substantial enough that we ate light dinners.  Then we were off to the factory to see how the chassis comes together.  SAM_1556Big Mike was our instructor and tour guide.  At 6’8″, did I say he was BIG?  That’s John standing to his left, and not that far in back of him.  A good foot of difference.  Boy, Mike sure knew his stuff, and he knew every worker on the line.  SAM_1540We learned more that I could ever hope to retain about the wiring, the big diesel engines that power our rigs,SAM_1546 the braking system, air systems, suspension, electrical, Spartan and OEM integration, etc.  In addition to learning how the chassis is built, we would have time with a technician to walk around our own rig and inspect the underneath  from a pit to discuss any issues.  We discovered our tow breaking package was installed incorrectly by our dealer in Florida, so that was repaired, and reimbursed to us by the dealer.  Who knows what disaster was avoided?  In our opinion, that was worth the price of the training.  Any additional warranty work would be scheduled in during the time we were there.  Also, there was a personal on-the-road drive time with a certified instructor and a driver course consisting of driver hazard awareness, basic driver guidelines, hazard avoidance, control and recovery , and the driver’s role.  There were lots of good tips learned about how to easily back into a spot, making right and left hand turns, etc.  After everything was complete, our coach was weighed so that we could properly distribute the loads we carry.  But, one of the best          SAM_1588SAM_1589SAM_1590SAM_1591things is that we were able to semi-repair the Entegra logo mud flap that had been damaged in Virginia.  We were finally able to get it off, and using tools and the spaces in the top of a picnic table, the guys got it straightened to an acceptable degree.  They got it reinstalled and it didn’t look too bad.  We were thinking we might have to get a new one when we were at the factory the coming week to the tune of $425, but we think this is ok.  Whew!

Since there was no reason to stick around after our warranty work was done on Friday afternoon, we decided to leave for Middlebury.  It was an easy drive at only 100 miles away.

 

 

Gettysburg

We were going to spend a few days in Gettysburg, and chose SAM_1242Granite Hill Campground since it was near town and was still open.  We were nearing the end of the camping season, and many places were closing their doors for the year.  We had an easy drive for the next leg of our trip, about 203 miles so we got on the road at around 10 am on Tuesday Oct 7th.  The fall colors were just beautiful in Pennsylvania and although the weather was partly cloudy, we enjoyed the ride.  This campground must be a really popular place to stay as it has so many activities in the summer such as the Bluegrass Festival, Adventure Golf, a B&B, etc.  But, it was very quiet during our stay.SAM_1240  Even though there was lots to see and do in town, John was not feeling very well, and we decided to have a quiet rest-of-the-day and lay low.  We had dinner and an early bedtime.

Wednesday morning dawned bright and sunny, and we discovered hundreds of stinkbugs on the outside of Harvey basking in the sun.  Ugh.  Wonder how many we were going to find inside?  Wonder if they came up with us from Virginia?  John wasn’t feeling so great so he got going early to see if he could find a Med Express and get some medication for his sinusitis.  After he returned with an antibiotic, we decided to start out sightseeing by driving into Gettysburg and starting at the National Military Park Welcome Center.  From the website:

“The National Park Service Museum and Visitor Center is the place to begin your visit to Gettysburg National Military Park. Here visitors will find information on how to visit the park and what to see around Gettysburg. The Gettysburg Museum of the Civil War, with 22,000 square feet of exhibit space, features relics of the Battle of Gettysburg and personalities who served in the Civil War, inter-active exhibits, and multi-media presentations that cover the conflict from beginning to end as well as describe the Battle of Gettysburg and its terrible aftermath. The center also hosts the film, “A New Birth of Freedom”, narrated by award winning actor Morgan Freeman and the restored Gettysburg Cyclorama, which depicts the final fury of Gettysburg- “Pickett’s Charge”.

I found the museum so wonderful that I could have spent two days there.  John and I visited the Cyclorama and viewed the film; then he said that he wanted to go back to the car to rest as he was tired, but I could take my time and enjoy the exhibits.  I felt really bad but there was no point in me missing the chance to see everything.  SAM_1246I took my time and even had the chance to have my picture taken with my favorite president, Abraham LIncoln.  SAM_1247When I finally returned to the car, there was John, sound asleep in the sunshine.  I think I could have stayed longer, but I wanted to get him back to camp and let him rest and give him a hot dinner.  We had a very quiet evening and went to bed early.  I was only hoping that I wouldn’t pick up whatever he had.

The next day was bright and beautiful, and John was starting to feel well enough to do some sightseeing.  Our plan for the day was to drive around and get the lay of the land.  Although we had been to Gettysburg some 35 years ago, SAM_1250many more monuments and displays had been erected.  I had picked up a map at the museum the day before so it was easy to get our bearings.  As I mentioned, we were very near town, and not too far from the National Cemetery.  Our plan was to visit there as there was a walking tour and that is where Abraham Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address.  SAM_1260Then we planned to get on a doubledecker tour bus for a narrated tour of the battlefields.  We had tried to book a private tour guide who would ride with us in our car as was suggested yesterday at the Museum, but no one was available.  SAM_1249As we were driving into town on the way to the National Cemetery, we stopped to read some of the bronze plaques (of which there were many!) along the road.  There is Red parked in the distance.  Aren’t the trees beautiful?

SAM_1262The National Cemetery is just outside town and contains the graves of more than 6000 US servicemen, including 3580 Union soldiers killed in the Civil War.  SAM_1274Near half the Civil War burials are unknown soldiers.  So many soldiers were killed in battle that some were buried in shallow graves where they fell, and some not at all.  The Governor of Pennsylvania at the time, Andrew Curtin, along with representatives of Northern states took steps to create a national cemetery.  Bodies were removed from the fields and re-interred here, taking five months.  Before work was completed, Abraham Lincoln dedicated the cemetery on November 19, 1863 in what would become known as his Gettysburg Address.  I am deeply affected by the carnage that took place here.  Some graves are individual, while some hold SAM_1279many bodies.  SAM_1267The graves are in semicircles, and the cemetery is separated from the public cemetery by an iron  fence.  SAM_1265There was a park ranger who conducted the walking tour and, as we’ve found with all the rangers who conduct tours in the National Parks, he was passionate about his subject.

SAM_1285The tour was over just in time for us to catch our doubledecker bus for the battlefield tour.  The day was very pleasant, and the sun was warm  upon us.  Headsets were provided for us and quite a story was told to us about the three harrowing days of the Battle.  SAM_1347There were statues and monuments all over the place and more were being added every year from the various states and regiments as anniversary dates occurred.  The tour took us through town and showed detail about buildings where SAM_1304sharpshooters hid, and places where bullet holes were still lodged in walls.  The American flag positioned here shows one such hole.  SAM_1314Little bronze plaques on houses indicate historic houses that were in existence during the Battle.  Before long, we came upon Little Round Top, the sight of the decisive day of battle.  It is also known as the Valley of Death as so many died here.  The knowledge of the battle is extensive.  SAM_1334Historians know where everyone was and what took place in the minutest detail.  We were able to get off the bus and walk around the area and see for ourselves.  There was even a man dressed in a Union soldier’s uniform.  SAM_1355After this very somber day of touring, we ended the afternoon with a very late lunch/early dinner at The Pub & Restaurant in Lincoln Square.  We got a nice outdoor table on the sidewalk right on the circle in downtown Gettysburg and watched the world go by.  Then we headed back to camp to prepare for departure to Michigan on the morrow.

Entegra Rally on the Chesapeake

We had made reservations several months ago to attend the Rally on the Chesapeake, an Entegra Owners Group event.  Several of the people we met at the Paso Robles CA Rally were planning to attend as well, and we were looking forward to more good times with them.  We were especially looking forward to an outing in Harvey again since we’d only been out one night since our return from our Wild West trip early in the summer.  We thought that we would link this trip to our Spartan Training School and Entegra PDI (Post Delivery Inspection) that we had scheduled a year ago for later in October.  We were getting the packing and prep down to a science, and we were ready to take off in no time!

Since we were going to practically passing through Richmond, we decided to stop and spend the night with my college roommate and her husband, Marcia and Chuck.  It would be about an 8 hour drive to their house so we decided to drive about halfway and spend the night on the road, getting there the next day in the late morning.  We like to stay in Flying J truck stops for a freebie night, but there aren’t many in the area we wanted to stop except for one that would have to do.  It was very small and busy. The lot was really overloaded with trucks since they, too, had nowhere else to stop for the night.

Our spot by the curb

Our spot by the curb

We were early enough that we got a spot along the curb that we like to get because we can put the slides out on the curb side, giving us more room inside.

See that Entegra coach sandwiched between the trucks?

See that Entegra coach sandwiched between the trucks?

After we were settled, John noticed another Entegra coach parked between trucks and decided to knock on their door and say “hello”.  We thought they might be going to the rally, too.  As it turned out, they were, and we asked them to come over for a glass of wine.  Don and Jane were so interesting!  They’ve been involved in RVing for many years, and were wagonmasters for Adventure Caravans.  They’ve been all over the world in RVs, including Australia and New Zealand.   They’ve also been to Alaska many times, which is on my bucket list, and we learned alot about planning for that.  While we were having our drinks, a trucker knocked on our door and asked us to pull forward about 20 feet so he could pull in behind us, so we did.  We went to bed early so we could get an early morning start.  I was jolted awake about 1 AM by the bed jerking as it came in with the slide.  I called out to John but he was gone!  I had no idea what was going on.  Just as I reached the front door, John came in to start the RV to back it up.  Unbeknownst to me, another trucker had knocked on our door to ask us to move our RV back so he could get his truck with an extra long load of pipe out of his space.  So, John, in his pajamas, had to unhook the car in order to back up.  Fortunately, the guy behind us that we had moved up for before was gone.  That was the first time that ever happened…and hopefully the last.  We will try to find bigger places to stay from now on!

We were on the road early as planned, on our way to Richmond.  I don’t think John ever really fell back to sleep after the night’s excitement.  After much discussion with Marcia about where to park Harvey, we decided to leave him in the Tennis Club parking lot, with the approval of the tennis pro, a friend of Marcia’s. She gave us the address to program into the GPS, but said to call when we got to a certain point, and she would meet us to guide us in.  We contacted her as planned, and she told us to take the 3rd exit of the roundabout while the GPS told us to take the first!  What to do?  We listened to Marcia since she lived there and would know best.  Unfortunately, she was turned around and coming from the opposite way and gave us incorrect instructions.  The GPS was right!  But, we were shook up since there wasn’t room to turn around.

A big booboo

A big booboo

John chanced a tight turn across a median where there was a street, but caught the mudflap under the coach, badly damaging it. There wasn’t much we could do about it except hope that it wouldn’t rip off completely and do more damage to my car or the coach.  We would need help to get it off.  Poor Harvey.

After calming down with several glasses of wine, we had a lovely dinner and visit with our friends, and were off in the late morning the next day.  The Beth-Page Resort in Urbanna VA was only about 1 1/2 hours away, making for a leisurely drive and check-in.  What a beautiful campground!  It was right on the water, with boat docks, kayak rentals, etc.  It had a huge water park for everyone as well as pools.  A perfect place for families.  I’m glad the place was selected for October since we pretty much had the park to ourselves with the kids in school.

The entrance

The entrance

Pools and water park

Pools and water park

Meeting clubhouse

Meeting clubhouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A street of Entegra coaches

A street of Entegra coaches

We were all parked along an avenue, so there was a “street of Entegra coaches”.  It was so much fun to meet up with “old” friends and meet new ones.  Everyone inspected each other’s coach to learn of the mods and improvements. In no time at all, we were doing what we do best….relaxing!SAM_1102  That evening, there was a welcome happy hour with a person to acquaint us with all the area has to offer.  The next day, October 2, we were off to Williamsburg with David and Mary from Texas, friends we’d made at the Paso Robles rally.

SAM_1110The day started out cloudy and rainy but ended up sunny and partly cloudy so John ended up carrying an umbrella all day.  Williamsburg was about a 40 minute drive from where we were, and in the triangle with Jamestown and Yorktown.  We didn’t have enough time to do it all, so chose Williamsburg.  We’d been there many years ago, but were eager to see it again without the crowds.  SAM_1113We entered the Welcome center to get our tickets and to see two films about the place and times.  SAM_1116We got on a shuttle (no waiting!) to the Governor’s Palace and arrived just in time for the tour.  Without going into the particulars of the tour, suffice it to say that it was very interesting and well done.  We spent the rest of the day visiting the shops and exhibits, and ended up dining at King’s Arms Tavern, an authentic 18th century chophouse where the staff wears period dress.  Specialties include peanut soup, Virginia ham, breast of chicken, colonial game pie and roast prime rib of beef.  Since the only reservation we could get was at 5:00, we weren’t all that hungry, so we ate lightly.  I had the delicious peanut soup and a Caesar salad.  By the time we finished our meal and drove back to camp, it was getting dark and we were really tired, and we had missed game night.  We wanted to get to bed early to be fresh for the riverboat cruise and winery tour the next day.

The Rappahannock River cruise group

The Rappahannock River cruise group

We had signed up for the riverboat tour when we registered for the rally.  The day started out sunny but was getting chilly and overcast as we headed up the Rappahannock River.  We were thrilled to see eagles nesting in the trees along the shoreline but I was not able to get good shots of them.  SAM_1175-001The best I could do was to get this shot of the American Eagle next to the flag.  See that little spot just to the left of the flag?  That’s the eagle!

SAM_1179The Ingleside Plantation Winery was the scheduled stop on the riverboat cruise.  A satisfying luncheon of pulled pork sandwiches, coleslaw, cookies, and baked beans was served and we all ate on the winery’s patio.  SAM_1188A wine tasting and tour was after although we didn’t purchase any wines as they weren’t to our liking.  The place where we docked was the site of Bray’s ChurchSAM_1190-001.  All that remains of the building is the brick foundation.  If you can see the date on the sign, you can see 1766, 10 years before the Revolutionary War!  Don’t forget, you can click on the pictures to enlarge them!)  This is where the Leedstown Resolutions (or, Westmoreland Resolves) were signed, a protest against the Stamp Act leading to the many protests of the War.  After a fun afternoon, we headed back to camp where a catered dinner awaited us.

Saturday, October 3rd was bright and beautiful.  No breakfast was provided that day, so friends from the Paso Robles rally, Ron and Cindi, and we decided to explore the town of Urbanna.  We found the Virginia Street Cafe and had breakfast there.  It was adequate but not outstanding.  I’ve gotten picky about breakfasts!  The town itself was very interesting and quirky.  SAM_1194We found a great store, called Marshall’s.  SAM_1196It had all kinds of stuff in it, including a lunch counter right out of the 50s!  There was also another shop in town that was surprising for the quality and style of clothing they stocked.  Cindi and I had fun shopping while the men sat outside in the sun.  We headed back to camp for an afternoon with an Entegra rep who came to meet with owners and answer questions about new models and old, with a catered dinner afterwards.

Sunday was break camp day.  Many, but not all were leaving.  Since John and I had nowhere to be until our Spartan Training School started on October 13, we decided to stay at Beth-Page for a couple more nights.  Besides, when were on the riverboat cruise I’d noticed that we were very near George Washington’s and Robert E. Lee’s birthplaces and wanted to visit them.  I am amazed that such a small area of the country produced such gigantic leaders for the birth of our country.  It was a beautiful day for some history.  We

A very theatrical park ranger guide

A very theatrical park ranger guide

SAM_1208 SAM_1213

The front of the house facing Pope Creek

The front of the house facing Pope Creek

had a very theatrical guide from the ranger service who rhymed his story.  It was very creative.  John didn’t catch the rhyming but it was there.  George Washington live on the Pope Creek Plantation for only three years, but returned often during his lifetime.  Mt. Vernon was about 80 miles upstream.  We wanted to get to Stafford Hall, the Lee plantation before it closed so we headed out.  it was a much more imposing place SAM_1236SAM_1234than Washington’s birthplace, which was at least a century older.  We had an interesting tour there, as well.  All of the restoration being done was to the period, with colors and fabric being research.  It is amazing to see how truly well built the house is.  It escaped damage during the Civil War.  We stayed and explored the grounds until almost closing time.  It was a 45 minute ride back to camp where we had dinner and read until bed.  Did I mention that there was such a canopy of trees that we didn’t get a chance to use our Dish receiver that we had set up prior to leaving home?  We would have to wait until our next location to try it out.

Next stop…Gettysburg!