The RV Road Trip Blog - July 2010

Jul
1
2010
Ah, July! We celebrate our country's independence this month, temperatures rise to almost unbearable heights and we handle all of that by sitting on the top of Loft Mountain in Virginia. This will be home until the 8th and then we'll head out to a new campground. We're thinking of heading toward the center of the country when we leave here. We're considering traveling into West Virginia then on to Ohio. One thing we are sure of, we don't want to be in another campground that is so far from town.

Watch your step!


It is pretty cool to be sitting under the awning and have birds hop up and catch the bugs crawling on the awning mat. This morning as I was coming back from taking the trash out, a deer walked down one side of the road as I walked up the other side. When it passed me, it was literally 5 feet from me. Stll no bears though... LOL. I don't think I'd want to be 5 feet from a bear!

The expenses for June have been posted as well as new pictures in the picture gallery. Check all that out if you are interested. Thanks so much to all those who send us emails and comments, we really appreciate them! We probably won't have another update until the 8th since we likely won't leave the mountain top again until then. You never know though... :)
Jul
3
2010
Do you ever wonder what expression you make when you hear a bear in the bushes about 40 feet from you? Well, here's the expression Cynthia makes! Bears are serious business - LOL. We never actually saw the bear because the underbrush was so thick. We heard it walking, we saw the small fruit trees it was pulling down then when it realized we were there, we heard it run off down the hillside. Oh well, maybe next time Cynthia will actually see the bear. The second picture is where the bear was in the underbrush.

Cynthia sees a bear, almost!

There's a bear in there!


We had a little campfire social last night and invited other campers. We had a good time sitting around the fire, roasting marshmallows and talking about our lives. We got to see the sunset then we all moved closer to the fire as the temperature dropped into the 60s. We have about 4 or 5 bags of marshmallows left over so we'll give them to families with kids today. The campground is pretty much full as folks stream in for the holiday weekend. We like to ride around on the scooters and look at all the different types of campers. We have a big pack of ribs that we'll cook tomorrow, maybe have some tater salad and iced tea.

We added some pictures to the picture gallery (see the menu on the right). We hope you enjoy them!
Jul
4
2010
Happy 4th of July everyone! We won't have internet access today so this was actually posted on July 3rd. We just wanted to say that we are proud to be Americans, proud to live in this country and proud to support the Constitution of the United States of America! May God bless America! Have a safe and happy holiday wherever you are!!
Jul
5
2010
Even the best made plans change... so has ours. We ended up departing Loft Mountain early this morning and driving to Pigeon Forge, TN. We don't really care for all the hoopla that goes on around here but here we are... and here we'll be for a month. We got a really good rate for a month so we took advantage of it. Everything is within scooter distance so we'll save a ton on truck fuel. We do have full hook ups here (yippee!) so we can run the A/C, use the laptops (free Wi-Fi is everywhere) and catch up with what is actually going on in the world. It seems this area is having a heat wave, the thermometer says 99° at 6:16pm.

Cynthia FINALLY saw a bear! On the way out of Loft Mountain Campground a bear cub ran across the road right in front of us. We tried to get a picture of it but it was just too fast. Cynthia was so excited! The picture we took barely shows the cub but here it is anyway. If you look closely at the picture on the left side, about middle ways up... you'll see a log. The black thing under the log is a bear cub running away from us as fast as it can. It really is!

A bear cub!


Here's a shot of us on July 4th in our holiday colors. You know Cynthia buys stuff like that, it is jeans/shorts and a t-shirt for me every day. But I love her so I wear it a few days a year. I do have limits, though. :) We'll post some more after we get settled in.

Jerry n Cynthia
Jul
10
2010
We're learning a few things as we go. We knew there would be things we would need (or want) but didn't know what they would be before we left, so we budgeted extra money for the first month to cover those things. So far, this is what we have bought since leaving home:

  •     Fly killer, fly traps, etc.
  •     A funnel to add water into the fresh water tank
  •     A 50' water hose to go with our 25' water hose
  •     Several TV cable connectors and short cables
  •     2 baskets for inside the camper
  •     A hat for Jerry
  •     A 6" skillet for Cynthia
  •     A propane Coleman stove so we can cook and fry stuff outside
  •     A 5# propane tank to use with the new propane stove
  •     Cover for the scooters
  •     Bug nets for our heads
  •     2 Bicycles and cushy seats for the bikes
  •     A replacement CB antenna since ours broke
  •     An electric razor for Cynthia's legs


We also thought that staying in campground without hookups would save us money, but that isn't always the case. If it is a long way to the grocery store, then we use extra truck fuel. We also use more propane as it is needed to heat our water. We use propane to cook with no matter what type of campground we stay in. If there is no Wi-Fi in the area, we have to drive to that... so all in all, if where we park is free then it still saves us money. However, if the park has a nightly fee, even as low as $7.50 per night, it isn't necessarily cheaper to stay there.

Here in Pigeon Forge, we are paying $470 for a month's stay. We use very little truck fuel as everything is within scooter distance, but we do need to use the truck to go get groceries. Good thing the Walmart is only 3 miles away. The only propane we use is for cooking and there is an abundance of free Wi-Fi spots that we can pick up from the camper, all with good signals. You gotta love having a good Wi-Fi booster antenna!

So even paying $470 a month for full hookups, that comes out to just $15.17 per night with very little added fuel expenses. 90% of our fuel expenses for July will be what was spent getting from Virginia to Pigeon Forge! So in the future, we figure any monthly rate of $500 or less is worthwhile if the park and surrounding area offers everything we need.


Yesterday we went tubing on the Little Pigeon River in Townsend, TN. It was fun but the water is fairly low due to the lack of rain in the area. The temperature was about 90° and the water temperature was 64°. It's a shock when you first get in but you quickly get used to it. After tubing, we rode through Cade's Cove and saw what there was to see. We saw a lot of deer, even more wild turkeys and guess what?! We saw a bear! Yes, a bear! It was a nice ride through there and we'll probably ride through it again before we leave the area.
Jul
15
2010
We had visitors! A couple of nice folks who have been following our blog saw that we were in the same area, so they hopped on their motorcycle and paid us a visit. We were fortunate to meet the now famous Bill and Mary Elliott (below is a picture of them). We sat and chatted for a while, they said they were workamping in the area and, like us, would be here for a little while. It was great to actually meet someone from the online RV community! So , if you're in the area... give us a call and stop by and see us. We'd love to meet you!

Bill and Mary
Jul
16
2010
We've been busy riding our scooters all over the place looking at all the "stuff" in the area. It can be overwhelming with all the attractions and all the people. We try to find all the backroads and scenic routes in the area and ride there, but often times we end up on the main parkway. Some very nice folks donated a pair of tickets to Dollywood to us so one day when the weather is comfortable, we will go there. We'll probably go to the water park as the rides and stuff in the other area aren't really what we're interested in. We like slow things - LOL. We thought about going to the aquarium in Gatlinburg but we're not sure if we will or not.

As stated in previous blog entries, we had gotten a Palm Pre phone so we could have mobile hot spot capabilities for times when there was no Wi-Fi available. Well, the Palm Pre is not a very user friendly phone in my opinion. The first one we got was defective, so we took it back. The second had battery life issues, wouldn't charge unless it was turned on, etc. So we took it back to Verizon and got the new Droid X that was released on July 15th. This is a huge phone but it is very powerful. Here's a pic:

Droid X


There isn't much this phone won't do. It will replace our car GPS, our geocaching GPS units and probably a few other gizmos. The apps available on the Android Market allow us to do amazing things with this phone. You can talk into it and it will translate what you say to another language, it keeps track of all those aggravating store rewards cards, we have the Bible installed on it, it can be used as a level, it is a digital camera and a digital camcorder, we can use Google Earth on it, check email, send texts for free and make free phone calls using Google Voice... I could go on and on and on about what you can do with this phone. If you need a phone, we suggest you get an Android phone. It was a little expensive initially but it will save us in the long run.

We did a little geocaching today using the new Droid X. It is so much easier now! The phone logs into our account at Geocaching.com and downloads the caches for the area we are in. We can then use the phone to navigate to the cache using Google Maps and turn-by-turn directions and when we get close, we can switch to radar mode and it takes us right to the cache. We can then log the find and update the Geocaching.com site right then and there. It's very nice to be able to do paperless geocaching with just one device. Here's Jerry with one we just found...

Geocaching in Gatlinburg

We added pictures to the Picture Gallery, a few geocaching shots and some Pigeon Forge area pictures. Be sure to check them out!
Jul
20
2010
We finally decided to go see some of the things here in Pigeon Forge. Now we are not about to get on that thing that slings you in the air so don't hold your breath for pics of that! We did head on over to the Old Mill area and walk around and have a look. We took the new Droid X phone with us so we could take a few pictures with it and see how they compared to our regular camera (Sony DSC-H2). Every picture up until now has been taken with the Sony, the ones you see below are from the Droid.

You know, we have changed one aspect of our lives since we started full-timing. We used to be in bed at 9:00pm every night and we would get up at 6-6:30am each morning. Now we don't get to bed until 10:00pm or later and we sleep in until 8:00am almost every day! What slackers we have become - LOL. Well, when you don't have a set schedule anymore, I guess it doesn't really matter.

Cynthia cooks breakfast outside under the awning. She has an electric griddle and a toaster oven that she likes to use when we have full hook ups. One morning she was out there and I was inside playing with the phone and I snapped a picture. She was really focused on that bacon... :)
Jul
25
2010
We enjoyed church this morning at Gum Stand Baptist Church... if you're in the area you really should visit there at least once. We've been putting the miles on the scooters this week running to and fro geocaching. We've found all the ones reasonably near us and we've also found quite a few in Gatlinburg. The Hobbies page shows how many total we have found, and as of this posting it is 65.

It's been very hot here since we have been here. The campground we are in doesn't have a pool but there is a public pool about 1/2 mile away. It is always packed with kids and the water has a strange yellowish tint to it so we decided not to swim there. There are plenty of creeks around here so we hopped on the scooters and deiced to go play in one. The main one that runs through Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge has warnings signs about elevated levels of fecal matter! We have no desire to play in water where a Baby Ruth might float by. (If you saw Caddyshack, you'll get that one.) So we rode on to Elkmont Campground and found a cool spot to get wet. Here's a shot of Cynthia enjoying the VERY cold water. I got in too but there's no proof - LOL.

Playing in the creek.

It was time to service the scooters so I picked up a set of spark plugs, new fuel filters and new air filters. I also started running Seafoam through the fuel to clean things out. We have just over 3000 miles on them so it was time to do all of this. We have to keep them running right because we sure do like riding all over the place for a month and only spending $10 in fuel. Cynthia got a hold of the camera again so here's another shot of an animal. A goose this time... how exciting - LOL. Were you expecting a bear? :) Just kidding, honey!

A random goose.

We've been mentioning a place called The Old Mill and others have been telling us about it as well. We went there, found a geocache there but didn't eat there (we're not too keen on eating out). Anyway, we finally took a picture of it so you all could see it for yourself. Here's the front... the panoramic picture a few days back is the back.

The Old Mill

While out riding we stopped at an overlook that allowed us to look down on Gatlinburg. Cynthia grabbed the camera and took this picture of me. This was taken on the Gatlinburg Bypass Road. That's a nice drive that allows you to avoid the hustle and bustle of downtown Gatlinburg. I'm not real sure who those people are...

Jerry over Gatlinburg.

We've added a few more pictures to the Pigeon Forge gallery, check 'em out.
Jul
28
2010
We got a call that Cynthia's mom is in very poor condition and is not expected to live beyond a few days. I drove Cynthia home last night so she could be with her mother and I am now back in Pigeon Forge. I will be speaking tonight at a local church here in Pigeon Forge and in the morning I will load up, hook up and head to where Cynthia is in Centerville, Alabama. I may not get to post anything for a few days since I am not sure where we will be parked during this time. If I have Wi-Fi or cell service I will still be able to post updates. Please remember Cynthia and her family during this time. There's no need to worry about Cynthia's mom... that lady loves the Lord and is on her way to a glorious home!

Here's a picture taken at sunset here in Pigeon Forge. But you know, the same sun sets everywhere so take a minute one evening and walk outside to look at it. :)

Sunset in Pigeon Forge.
Jul
29
2010
Just a quick update today... Cynthia's mom passed away yesterday. I'm headed there this morning and we'll be in the area long enough to take care of everything that needs to be taken care of. Cynthia has lots of family there so she'll have plenty of help as well as comfort.

It's gonna be a change to leave the mountains we've been in since the beginning of June. Alabama has small mountains but nothing compared to the Great Smoky Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains. I bet I'll get much better fuel mileage - LOL.
Jul
31
2010
The funeral is now over and unfortunately, the family will have to learn how to get along without Mrs. Cash. We'll remain in the area through the month of August as Jerry has doctor's appointments and also to give Cynthia time to visit with her family. So get ready to see some pictures from Alabama! We'll be near the town of Brent but will be on private property so no campground information to give this time. See you next month! (Tomorrow)


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