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Smokey Mountain National Park, Newfound Gap

Number of Visitors

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Well we are back (Flushing, NY)


It has been a while since our last post, so I will summarize since the last blog.


Well, we have been chilling out so much in Sunny Florida that we are pretty much frozen!  Getting the Hitch Itch now!


Went to Tampa for our appointment with Ford to have the truck inspected for the extended warranty.  Everything was OK, except the rear main seal on the transmission was leaking.  The good news was, it was under warranty.  The bad new is that is would not be ready until late in the afternoon.  They offered us a free shuttle bus service they had, but where to go?  Of course, we went to the Mall.  Where else??

When we got to the Mall guess what we found, besides Food.


That’s Ann waiting on line for:


Yup, that’s right, a Carousel, smack in the middle of the Mall and Ann could not resist.




Took a trip with Fran and Rick to Tarpon Springs, the sponge capital.  Ann picked up some hand lotions with olive oil, she needed.  I told her we had plenty of Extra Virgin Olive Oil at home she could use, but it didn’t work.

Fran,Rick,AnnTarpon Spirings Dock 2Tarpon Spirings Dock 3.Tarpon Spirings Dock Ann Fran RickTarpon Spirings Dock Ann RoyTarpon Spirings Dock

After the trip to Tarpon Springs we went back to Fran & Rick’s house. Ann lied down on a recliner and promptly feel asleep! Imagine Ann actually taking a nap (miracles do happen)!

Fran and Rick made a barbeque for dinner. Their younger son, Seth, and his wife, Jessica and their 2 children, Cierra and Chase also came over.  We all had a great time.



Ann and I went down to St. Petersburg.  We took a walk along the pier.  The pier and the river front has been redone and it really looks great.  On the pier we sat and listened to a four piece jazz band.

The pier is right next to the airport, so we could watch the planes taking off and the boats going by.  It was a very pleasant day.

When we got back from back we went out to dinner with Rick, Fran and Rick’s mother, Ellen, at a great Italian restaurant called Johnny’s.


In the morning we took our time because it was only a 70 mile trip.  We went through our hitch up routine and pulled out about 10:30 AM.

We pulled into Blueberry Hill campground in Bushnell, where we were greeted by the some of the members of the group who were already setting up.  We unhitched, connected our electric, water and sewer and let out our slides.  We were ready for the fun stuff.

Through the day the New Horizon rigs kept coming in, a total of 17.  During the rally we had seminars  on Solar and Battery maintenance.  General rig maintenance, even a Personal Trainer.  Personal Trainer is one of the other guys with more knowledge will come around to your rig and answer specific question you may have.  I cannot begin to tell you the amount of information we received on the Camper, the truck and the great bunch of people we met.

There was an open house, where all of us opened up campers to everyone else, so all of us could see all of the other campers.  Since the New Horizons are custom campers, no two are the same.  We got some good ideas from each.  We still like our home the best.


Thursday was a free day we could explore the area.  We decided to go to Homosassa Springs with two other couples, Joe and Valerie and Jim and Jan.  We had a great time. 


In the morning we went to the planning meeting for the next rally in 18 months. After that we left for Orlando to store the camper until the house sells.  We pulled into the Adult Toy Storage around 1:30PM,  a little late (the sign said they closed at 1 PM), but there was still someone there and they got us in and parked.  We took everything out of the camper and packed up the truck.  Locked up the the camper and with a tear in our eyes we said good bye to The Roan, our home, had headed north.  (FYI, you would be amazed at how many campers of all sizes and shapes were parked at this storage facility, it is unreal!).

The rally was great and we had a wonderful time from the minute we pulled into the campground.  We made lots of new friends and we are looking forward to seeing them again.  (Roy enjoyed every minute of of this rally, he was “tech talking” every waking moment with the guys about the truck or the camper!!)

The following is not an admission of guilt, but an explanation of what happened.  We headed to north with the truck and all of our possessions.  We arrived in Jacksonville around 6PM and pulled into a motel for the night.  When we were checking in I asked if they had WiFi.  Then it hit me, OH Shit!  I left the Internet air card in the camper.  Not only did I leave it in the camper, but it was turned on and connected to our router.  (It is all Ann’s fault).  So in the morning it was back down I-95 to Orlando, 145 miles, to pick up the air card.  Now I want to repeat, IT WAS NOT MY FAULT!!,  no matter what other people may say behind my back. Smile

On the way back the Tire Pressure Monitor I installed paid for itself.  One of the inside dual rear tires started to give an alarm of low pressure.  I pulled off the road to see if anything was wrong.  It read low, but not too low.  I decided to get off at the next exit to get air in the tire.  After putting more air in the tire, it kept going down.  I asked at a truck stop if there was a tire repair shop around.  They recommended a shop one exit south of us, 4 miles.  Ann called them and they said they would be waiting for us.  When we got their the found a nail in the tire.  If it were not for the monitor we could have lost two new tires.  We only lost a few hours, but saved a bundle of money.

The rest of the trip was uneventful except to say that New Jersey and New York have some of the Worst Roads. 

Well,  that was a long post. 

We are now in our Sticks and Bricks house waiting for a buyer.

See You Down the Roan Road…

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Sunshine State (Palm Harbor , FL)


It was around 10 AM by the time we pulled out of Amityville.  Across the good old LIE to the BQE (that’s for all of you NYC folks) down the NJ turnpike, across Delaware, around Baltimore by crossing the Key Bridge, around DC to the Elks Lodge in Woodbridge VA.  Boy,  talk about a run on sentence.

We stayed one night in the Elks Lodge parking lot. 


The next morning we moved to a camp site about 5 miles away and took a tour of the Manassas Battle field.  The north calls it Bull Run, the South calls it the First Battle of Manassas.   A few months later the there was a second battle.


On Tuesday we made it to Florence, SC. We stayed in a Wall-Mart overnight. We decided to make a run for it, so down I-95 we went.  Across the rest of SC, GA and into Florida.   Around Jacksonville to I-10 and then headed southwest on local roads.   Five hundred (yes, 500)  miles later we ended here at Bell Aire RV park at 8 PM (in the dark).  With the help of some extremely nice and friendly staff here, we backed into the spot.  I hooked up the up the water and electric, made spaghetti and meatballs, then we both collapsed.

This morning we got up late and went over to Ann’s sisters house, Fran and Rick, to have breakfast (actually, Ann Called Fran last night and invited us for a pancake breakfast and they obliged!).

Basically today we are just chilling out.

See you down the Roan Road…

Friday, October 14, 2011

Doctors, Doctors, Doctors (Flushing, NY)


The House is up for sale and the Real Estate agent is bringing people around, but nothing yet.

This is the time to see “The Doctors” .  We both went to our GP for our annual checkup and came out with a clean report card.

Ann went to Orthopedist.  He gave her a Cortisone shot in the knee and  seems to be OK for now.

Next the Cardiologist.  Both of us are good there too.

Next my Urologist #1, got the ok from him.

Next the Colonoscopy, (that was fun) clean up there too. 

Well, we are packing up and getting ready to leave for Florida this Sunday.  The plan is to go to Bushnell, FL for a New Horizons Owners Group Rally.  New Horizons is the the make of the camper we have, and every two years they have a rally.

After the Rally we will head to Orlando to store the camper.  We will drive back, and after the house sells we will go back, pick up the camper and head out across the USA.

See you down the Roan Road…

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Recovering from the Storm (Flushing, NY)


Here we are back in the house.  AC in the basement has been going non stop since we got home last Friday.

This is before:


This is After:


We had the rugs removed and all of the mold removed.  The wall were repainted with oil base paint.  The floors are now covered with a parquet looking linoleum tile.

Also, around the outside of the house, where the concrete on the ground meets the brick side of house was sealed so no water can go down into the foundation.  Hopefully that will solve the problem.

Now we can start showing the house again.

The Plan…

The middle of October, go down to Florida for the NHOG (New Horizons Owners Group) rally. Then after the rally we will store  the coach in Florida and drive back with the truck.  After the house is sold, rent another trailer with whatever clothes and stuff we will want to take with us in the trailer.  Drive back down and then we hit the road.

We will be writing another blog over the next week to recap our trip and links to pictures of our beautiful country

Next stop… somewhere in the USA.

See you down the Roan Road…

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Trapped ( Altoona PA)


Finally, another blog post. 

On Friday (after the rally ended)  we went on a charted tour of Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse Monument with our other Escapee friends.  We did not get back until after 10 PM. 

We decided to cut the trip short  (no stop over in Kansas) and get back early because of water in the basement of the house.  So after doing some food shopping Saturday morning we left Gillette and started for home on I-90 east. At Joliet IL we headed south to pick up I-80 east.  We have been staying campgrounds until last night when we decided to dry camp at Walmart so we could get an early start.  After going to bed around 8:30 PM we woke up around 4 AM made breakfast and took off. Today we kept seeing signs on I-80 that it was closed between exits 232 and 235.  Now what?  We decided to head south to pickup the PA turnpike and then I –78,

We are now in the parking lot of a Super Walmart in Altoona.  We will let you know what happens tomorrow.

See you down the Roan Road…

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Alive and Well (Wall, SD)


Contrary to reports we are not in Boot Hill, in Deadwood SD.  We are alive and kicking, sort of.  We reached Gillette WY,  for the Escapees Rally, 2 days early because of the transmission on the truck.  Of course, Ford could not find anything wrong.  The dealer, Thunder Basin Ford, was very accommodating and seemed to be thorough.

When the Rally started we got up at 6 AM and didn’t get back to the camper until after 8:30 PM.  So, we were very, very busy all day long.

This morning we left the Rally and are heading east on I-90 home.  We had to cut our travels short because of Irene.  We have water in the basement of the house.  So we have to get back to clean up.

Right now we are in a camp ground right off the interstate in Wall, SD.  The campground is right next to the train tacks. There is nothing like a 3 engine 125 car coal train coming past blowing it’s whistle.  Especially in the middle of the night.

Well more to follow, with pictures.

Note: I am going to try to do short updates on Facebook.  So those of you with Facebook accounts, send me a Friends Invite, so you can keep up to date.  I will still be updating the blog as usual.

See you down the Roan Road….

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Escapees Rally (Gillette WY)


Well we finally made it, a few days early though.

I am writing this blog from the Service department of a Ford dealer in Gillette.  After leaving the campground Sunday in the Black Hills of SD.  We had to take a very, very curvy mountain road.  Pulling our house behind us, the transmission on the truck started to slip.  After reaching relatively flat road and stopping for a few minutes the transmission finally cooled down and it hasn’t slipped since. We still wanted it to be checked out.  We continued on to Rapid City. Since this was Sunday, nothing could be done until Monday.  We found a campsite for the night about 10 miles from Rapid City. 

First thing in the morning we took the truck to the local Ford dealer.  Well, they could not get us in for a week.  What to do?  We called the Ford dealer in Gillette and they could take us on Thursday, the 25th.  We decided to push on, since it was a straight run on I-90. 

Now where to stay from Monday to Thursday.  Ann called the people in charge of the rally and they let us come early, but not until Wednesday.  Ann saved the day again!  We decided to break up the 162 mile trip and stop along the way.  At the campsites we stayed in, we met many other people on their way to the rally.

We stopped at Sundance, Wyoming for the night and while we were there went to see Devils Tower.  It is just like in the movie, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”.

Devels Tower National Monument (0)Devels Tower National Monument (2)Devels Tower National Monument (4)Devels Tower National Monument (10)Devels Tower National Monument (13)

If you look really close, you can see two climbers on the tower.  I think one of them might be Dustin!

Devels Tower National Monument (16) crop

If you click on the picture to blow it up, you can see two climbers.  One on the ledge in the center and one climbing above him.  That is as close as I could get, guess I will have to get a bigger lens. 

You cannot believe how open and vast the country is out west.  No picture can do it justice, you just have to see it.

Well we are sitting here waiting to see what they say.  We will let you guys know when we find out.

See you down the Roan Road…

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Missile Silo (Badlands SD)


This actually should have been in yesterdays post, so this is not really a new Blog post.

In 1992 after a treaty with Russia, we agreed to destroy 500 missile silos and the Nuclear war heads.  These were the Titian II missiles called Minuteman Missile.

The Russians agreed that we could keep 2 of them as museums. The National Park Service operates two of them and gives tours of this once top secret facility.

The tour starts with a film and the history of the Minuteman Missile complex.

Minuteman Missle Base SD (1)

After the movie you take your car and drive to the Control Center. 

Minuteman Missle Base SD (4)Minuteman Missle Base SD (5)Minuteman Missle Base SD (7)Minuteman Missle Base SD (8)

This was the crews quarters above ground that house the Duty Officer and the Security personnel.

The control center controls 10 missile silos.  There is a bunker 30 feet below ground where two officers live 24 hours on and 24 hours off completely isolated from the rest of the world.

Minuteman Missle Base SD (11)Minuteman Missle Base SD (12)

When the Air Force was integrated (men and women) there was a a lot of protests from the spouses of the officers that manned the bunker.

After the the tour of the Control center we drove to an actual missile silo.

Minuteman Missle Base SD (13)Minuteman Missle Base SD (14)Minuteman Missle Base SD (15)Minuteman Missle Base SD (16)

So, if you are worried that the Russians are ready to destroy the world, not to worry.  We still have 500 upgraded Titan III Minuteman Missiles, with multiple war heads, that can destroy all of humanity several times over ready to go.

So you can sleep easy tonight.

See you down the Roan Road….

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hot times in the Black Hills (Keystone SD)


Here we are sitting in our Home after a hard day of driving through Custer State Park.  It’s hard work but someone has to do it.

Let me back track, since I have not Blogged for a while and I do not want any more complaints from you know who, H & K!

Thursday August 11

Mitchell SD:  After the excitement of the previous night’s thunderstorm. we took a day off torest.  On Saturday, we decided to tour Mitchell.  If you look up Mitchell, SD you will see that their claim to fame is the Corn Palace.  The walls are covered by specially grown corn to make Murals inside and out.

Corn Palace - Mitchel SD (1)Corn Palace - Mitchel SD (3)Corn Palace - Mitchel SD (4)Corn Palace - Mitchel SD (6)Corn Palace - Mitchel SD (7)Corn Palace - Mitchel SD (8)

Now that is really “Corny”.  Get the pun, folks?

After that we went to the Ancient Indian Archeological dig.  It is an Indian village approximately 5000 years old.  Now that was interesting.

Indian Arch Dig- Mitchel SD (1) - CopyIndian Arch Dig- Mitchel SD (3) - CopyIndian Arch Dig- Mitchel SD (11) - CopyIndian Arch Dig- Mitchel SD (12)Indian Arch Dig- Mitchel SD (13)

We then tried to go to the McGovern Library, but it was closed.  So no pictures.

We left Mitchell, SD on Sunday and went to the Badlands.

Sunday August 14

We arrived at a small campsite on Indian land after driving back and forth trying to find the entrance.  Turning around on these back roads pulling your home in back of you is not fun.  Backing a 36ft 18,000 lbs. camper to turn around, is a challenge.  But we did it.

After we arrived we went to the visitor’s center.  Note to all.  When going to any National Park, always go to the Visitor's Center first.  They are very well done, full of information about the park and the park Rangers are very knowledgeable and friendly.

The first night we went on a nature walk where the Ranger explained all of the plants in the park.  Being from NYC, and having no idea about plants, most of it was over my head.  But we enjoyed it anyway.

The next day we toured the Badlands Park.

That evening we went for a night time star watch.  Let me tell you, there are stars in the sky.  Being from NYC, it is hard to tell.  Although the night we were looking up it was a full moon so not all of the stars were visible.  We got to see the Space Shuttle pass by overhead twice, along with many other bright stars.  They had 3 telescopes setup that we could look through, along with an interesting and knowledgeable presentation.  No pictures, too dark.

The next day we headed for the Black Hills, where we are today.  Today we toured the Custer State park.


This one I call Penis Rock.  I don’t think that is the real name, just my twisted view of a rock.

Black Hills Custer State Pk (30)

See you down the Roan Road…