February - June 2019
  • Day132

    Mountain Top, Pennsylvania - Home

    June 25 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 77 °F

    We're home!

    We enjoyed a wonderful trip. And we hope that friends and family have found our trip interesting and likewise enjoyed our adventures as much as we have.

    In over 4 months time we have visited 15 states, traveling 6,068 miles. Each state has provided us with unique opportunities to experience various sights and cultures, both old and new. The deep South holds much historical heritage; Texas stands all by itself, offering a unique mixture of people that is all Texan. New Mexico's scenery is beautiful. And Arizona has the scenery, and a mixture of cultures that offers much to enjoy. And enjoy we did! Went through Oklahoma for the first time in all our camping years. Flat with farms, farms, and more farms and you can't forget the excitement added by watching the skies for tornados.

    We visited cities, large and small towns, and towns that are only a dot on the map or just a crossroads. What makes it all interesting is each has a story to tell. Why is the town here? Where did the people come from? What made the town grow and sustain the people? All have answers that paint the history. History tells us where we have been and helps us understand where we are now and how to get to the future. All this is what makes traveling our country so interesting. When you throw in all the beauty, mountains, deserts, rivers, sunsets, and wildlife it's hard not to be impressed and to look forward to more travels.

    Up next, 2020 adventures!
    Read more

  • Explore, what other travelers do in:
  • Day129

    Harpers Ferry, WV - Harpers Ferry KOA

    June 22 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 73 °F

    At our last stop on the 2019 trip, Harper's Ferry, West Virginia and yet another KOA campground. We have been to both the town of Harpers Ferry and the KOA campground on a prior trip. Apparently we've had a memory lapse, or possibly a senior moment when it came to this campground.

    This campground is big. We joined a 1000+ of our closest camper friends spread over 310 campsites. Close is the operative word here. We are stuffed onto a hilly postage stamp size piece of land which makes for close quarters and challenging campsite parking. Add very narrow roads and traversing the campground becomes an olympic sport, especially when driving a sizeable RV. This type of campground attracts the locals, looking to have all the amenities at their doorstep and to be entertained accordingly. The fact that the Harper's Ferry KOA is corporate owned and not a family operation probably puts profits as the operational priority, rather than a healthy camping experience.

    But all is not lost! After all, we are in a famous town, Harpers Ferry. History abounds. Harpers Ferry National Park is literally right next door to our campground. The Park commemorates the historical significance of Harpers Ferry. The events of 1859 can be viewed as a precursor to the Civil War. The 1859 town was a bustling industrial center with a population of 3,000. The confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers here along with rail and canal access gave the town an important geographic position. The US Army maintained an armory here that was the attraction for the abolitionist John Brown. He wanted to arm a slave uprising and raided the armory. Unfortunately, he got trapped in the armory by US troops commanded by Robert E. Lee ( yes, that Lee). Brown surrendered, was tried, convicted, and hung for his abolishionist activism.

    Today the town enjoys a more gentle atmosphere. With a much smaller population today of only 300, Harpers Ferry provides the tourist and history buff an inviting setting to enjoy.
    Read more

  • Day127

    Natural Bridge, VA-Nat Brg/Lexington KOA

    June 20 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 81 °F

    Here we are back to Natural Bridge, VA. On February 15, this was only the second stop on our 2019 trip, as we hastily headed south to escape the cold and snow. 125 days later we find ourselves back, but this time enjoying a more leisurely pace and with much warmer weather. The campground is now full of vacationers, enjoying a camping adventure. You can tell it's vacation time with families enjoying the pool. Bah Humbug! (just kidding) Time to go home and enjoy Homeside Park.

    We did enjoy a good dinner at a local family restaurant that we have been to on prior trips, the Pink Cadillac Diner. The name does suggest a certain diner theme. Yes, "Elvis" is in the building and he drove his pink Cadillac. Besides dinner, the Pink Cadillac Diner offers a couple of dozen ice cream flavors at the adjoining ice cream parlor. One night for dinner, two nights for ice cream.
    Read more

  • Day125

    Wytheville, Virginia - Wytheville KOA

    June 18 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 72 °F

    Here we are now in Virginia. As the State Slogan says"Virginia Is For Lovers", that's us. We've chosen to stop in Wytheville only as a stop of convenience. We're not rushing our trip's end, but rather taking our time to lessen the pain of long distance driving. It's nice not to have a schedule or deadline.

    Yes, this stop is at another KOA campground. Rather than exploring new campgrounds, we have elected to take the easy way and stay in KOAs where we can count on good locations and quality. Like what you would expect in a favorite hotel chain.

    The town of Wytheville is a small town located in southwest Virginia, and is named after the first signer of the Declaration of Independence, George Wythe. Not to be outdone by the early years, Wytheville can also claim a 20th century famous citizen, First Lady Edith Bolling Wilson, second wife of President Woodrow Wilson. This First Lady was a direct decendant of Pocahontas and her great great grandmother was a sister to Thomas Jefferson. Not too shabby!

    Yes, history runs deep in Virginia and is somewhat epitomized by small Virginia towns like Wytheville. Founded in 1792, having famous citizens, and significant Civil War skirmishes all are part of Wytheville and the heritage so valued by the South.
    Read more

  • Day123

    Baileyton, Tennessee - Baileyton KOA

    June 16 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 81 °F

    Still in Tennessee, in Baileyton, in the state's northeast corner. It's our last stop in the Volunteer State.

    Our drive here today wasn't a long one, but it took a longer time than anticipated. We got stuck on the interstate in a huge backup caused by a tractor trailer having run off the road and into a ravine which caused the trailer to break apart and spill its load. Our traffic woes continued with going through the city of Knoxville and playing Sunday combat driving with all the weekenders and vacationers.

    The good part of today's travels is the turning northward and starting at Mile 0 of Interstate 81. From here it's all the way home on I-81, getting off at the Mountain Top, PA exit. Only 571 miles to go. No chance of getting lost now.

    The campground du jour is another KOA in the small town of Baileyton, named after 2 founding Bailey brothers. Baileyton is just a stop off the interstate with 400 people and a few businesses, restaurants, and gas stations. The star of the show here is the campground. We stumbled upon a little gem. While small, it has all the needed amenities; even a golf driving range, a first for us for campground amenities. Fore!!!!
    Read more

  • Day121

    Crossville, Tennessee - Crossville KOA

    June 14 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 70 °F

    What day is it? The story goes like this. We stopped for lunch at a Cracker Barrel restaurant. Since it was Thursday and turkey is always Cracker Barrel's Thursday special, so we ordered turkey. The waitress said the Friday special is fish. Oops! Another senior moment or just on retirement time?

    Anyway,we are steadily moving eastward toward home. Our current camping spot is in Crossville, Tennessee which is between the cities of Nashville and Knoxville, in Middle Tennessee, on the Cumberland Plateau. This geographic location provides for a mild year around climate which in turn makes for ideal weather for 12 golf courses. This makes Crossville the Golf Capital of Tennessee.

    We passed by Nashville today and what excitement. It was the middle of the afternoon and traffic was bumper to bumper. Rush hour must be even more exciting.

    We'll skip the history lesson regarding Crossville. Well, maybe we'll have a little lesson. As its name denotes, the town sprang up at a crossroads, then someone built a store at the crossroads, the Civil War took advantage of the crossroads, more roads and highways were built, and today there is a town of 12,000 people. The End!
    Read more

  • Day119

    Hurricane Mills, TN - Buffalo KOA

    June 12 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 75 °F

    We're 75 miles west of Nashville,TN and have stopped in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. Only reason to stop here is the campground availability. However, there apparently is another reason that has many other people stopping here.

    Hurricane Mills is the home of country music star, Loretta Lynn. In fact, she owns the whole town. The town lies within the 3,000 acre Loretta Lynn Ranch. When she bought the ranch back in the 1960's, the town came with it. So, I guess the 500 people who live in Hurricane Mills in some fashion belong to Loretta Lynn. Strange!

    But there's more to the Loretta Lynn story. The ranch has morphed into a full blown commercial operation, but not the usual cattle raising operation. This operation includes a museum, imitation coal mine, restaurant, country store, gift shop, plantation shop, western store, snack shop, campground, and guided tours of the plantation house. We have a genuine tourist destination (trap). Can't forget, Loretta does give back to the community by throwing in a couple of concerts each year.

    The town itself has a couple of businesses and a post office. The area in general is known for growing corn and peanuts. And where does the town name come from? Simple! There's a Hurricane Creek that powered the Hurricane Mill (also on the ranch). That simple!
    Read more

  • Day116

    Marion, Arkansas - Memphis KOA

    June 9 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 77 °F

    We're still in Arkansas, but not by much. Marion, AR is situated on the Arkansas/Tennessee border, and as the campground name indicates, we're near Memphis. Marion, AR is directly west of Memphis, separated by the Mississippi River. It's proximity to Memphis would probably qualify Marion as a bedroom community of the big city, but a small one with only a population of 2,500.

    There is nothing truly unique about Marion, except us camping here for 3 days. The star of the show here is Memphis. Blues music, bars, restaurants, and Elvis. What's not to like, if you like loud and crowds? Since we've been here before, we opted for more serene activities. We visited a favorite eating spot that we had found during our last time here, Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken. The menu features fried chicken, and only fried chicken. If you want beef, go elsewhere. The meal was good, but a tad on the spicy side. Not like we remembered, but good. While we were in the city for dinner (yes, we actually went into a city, but for a good reason) we stopped by a park on the bank of the Mississippi River and enjoyed a beautiful view with a relaxing breeze.

    A second city venture and again the trip was for food. This time for a favorite, Mexican pastries. We found a "panaderia" tucked into a small Latino section of the city. For all our western travels we added pastries to our love of Mexican food. Beats coffee and a plain donut for breakfast. Now if only we could pronounce the pastry names.

    Enjoyed some campground evening entertainment. We watched a cropduster plane making low level spraying passes over an adjacent field. Got to admit it's not something you see everyday and it made for a cheap date.
    Read more

  • Day115

    N Little Rock, AR - Little Rock N KOA

    June 8 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 77 °F

    Now in another state, Arkansas! We can check off another of the states that we have not camped in. Remaining states are Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

    As for our one night stop in Arkansas, we are in North Little Rock. Amazingly we are just across the Arkansas River from Little Rock, the state capital. The pressence of the river is particularly significant now since the river and every tributary, creek, stream, lake, and bathtub here has overflowed big time. Farmers can now sell lakeside farmland. I think I saw the Ark tied up by a farmer's barn. This area has received the rain of the century. Farmland has received some serious damage. The road in front of our campground just reopened yesterday.

    While Little Rock may have some interesting sights, it probably is best for us to stay put, lest we have to confront flood waters somewhere. Besides, with our lack of interest in city life we don't feel any great urge to go to the big city. Also, there is another reason not to explore the city. Little Rock is a dangerous city. Crime appears to be a leading industry.

    While there may be a dark side to the city, it can't be all bad. The population has increased every decade since 1850. Apparently, many people have found an appealing good side to Little Rock.

    And finally, the question everyone has been asking. How did Little Rock get its name? It derives its name from a small rock formation on the south bank of the Arkansas River called the "Little Rock". The "Little Rock" was used by early River traffic as a landmark and later became a river crossing. And, not surprising, across the river from Little Rock there is a Big Rock on a large bluff at the edge of the river. Boy, what a story! Kinda makes you want to go "Rock" hunting along the river. What excitement!
    Read more

  • Day114

    Sallisaw, OK - Sallisaw/Fort Smith W KOA

    June 7 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 77 °F

    Here we are in Sallisaw, Oklahoma, a medium size town of 8,500 in eastern Oklahoma. Just our size! Small enough for peace and quiet, and minimal traffic.

    As we head eastward the scenery has changed from arid desert landscape with colorful mountains to rolling tree covered hills. Wildlife has changed from lizards, ground squirrels, prairie dogs, and an occasional pronghorn to miles and miles of cattle; the calf's are cute, staying close to mom. Yes, we are getting closer to our trips end.

    However, there are still new things to see and experience as we pass through different states and towns. With different places and people there is always something eye catching and perhaps noteworthy. Each town has its own story to tell.

    As for Sallisaw, OK we have a town that sits within the Cherokee Nation boundaries. The Cherokee Nation is just one of many Native American lands that we have passed through in Oklahoma. Oklahoma was originally the US Indian Territory which explains the large Native American presence. Sallisaw started out a cotton farming community, turning to lumber along with coal, natural gas, and related petroleum products. Today, agriculture in many forms supports the economy. It appears that not much has changed here over a century, except the Super Walmart down the street. Another nice town to live, work, and raise a family.

    Although Sallisaw may not be known for any facts of existence, the are two well known items tied to it's name. One, the gangster Pretty Boy Floyd is from the area, and two, Sallisaw was mentioned in John Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath" novel as the home town from which the fictional family migrated westward. Even nondescript towns along our journey have a story to tell. This is what makes our trip more interesting than just the usual touristy stops.
    Read more