Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Home again, home again, jiggety jog!

At least I think that's how that rhyme goes, LOL.  Anyway, I haven't just disappeared again, I've actually been on vacation (although I didn't want to announce it ahead of time, as that is a great way to tell "bad guys", "come on over and rob my house, nobody will be home from this date to this date", which we certainly didn't want to do).  We had a scary enough "casing" of our home/property this year, sure don't want to let people KNOW when we won't be home.  So, we're home again, you might be asking yourself, "yeah, but home from where"?  LOL

As stated in previous blogs, we had a fantastic vacation in the Smoky Mountains with our extended family last summer.  Then N (son) and E & L (grand daughters) were living with us for most of the school year, but we hadn't seen the other 3 grand kids; A, K, and J for the past year.  So off we went in our Big Sky, Condo on Wheels to see B (daughter) M (son-in-law) and A, K, and J in Virginia.  They've lived there for 2 years now, in 3 different houses and this is the first time we've made it out there (because last year they joined US in the Smokies).  So, we headed East on July 28.  What a wild trip it was this year, what is up with all the drivers texting and just plain being oblivious as they drive?  We always hate/dread driving through Indianapolis, but to go East from Central IL, there isn't much choice.  As usual there was lots of construction, but we made it through without too much problem and headed on towards Louisville (our second most hated place to drive through, due to extreme left to right lane changes to get to the correct highway.  It's hard to do with a 40 ft fifth wheel, LOL).  Anyway, just before we got to Louisville, there was an on ramp.  There was a smallish car in front of us, we're all going 65 mph.  3 semis are coming up the on ramp, on the right, but they have THEIR OWN LANE, they don't have to merge and the IDIOT smallish car in front of us suddenly STOPS (we think they were trying to let the trucks on, but they didn't need to, the trucks had their own lane). . . we couldn't get over, there were cars on our left, too. . .Verle put the brakes on as hard as he safely could. . .  I think we came within about 10 feet of "the idiot" before he finally got the idea that we were about to run right over him and he accelerated and we managed to avoid an accident.  With our hearts still in our throats (or is that stomachs in our throats???) we still had to make it through Louisville.  First you have to be all the way to the right going across the big bridge (and it's always crowded) to make the change from I65 to I71/65, then after making that tight spiral ramp onto 71/65 and coming in on the left, you have to cut across the I71/65 traffic (immediately, not even a half mile) to get to the I71/I64 ramp where, again, you come in on the left side and have to get across the entire freeway to make the final ramp completely onto I64 without the other combined freeways.  Of course, there is also construction going on and restricted speeds for those of us who follow the speed limits (but those who don't sure make it harder for those of us who do, LOLOL).  We had another person almost stop in front of us during all this, as well as a person pulling onto the freeway going about 10 mph in the middle of all this.  It's all tight ons and offs in very short distances across 3-4 lanes of freeway with other freeways crossing in and out, I hate it (I even hated it when we were just driving in a car, but being the size of a semi is even worse), but once you're through Louisville, the rest of the trip is great.

Being the height of summer, the scenery was gorgeous.  I didn't take many pictures this time, as we've made this trip at least once a year for the past 6 years.  This is actually the first picture I took, as we headed south towards Charlottesville, VA, our destination to visit the family.   They live just north of Charlottesville.
We've never been to the Charlottesville area, the only part of VA we've been to is in the D.C. area.
As we got to our campground, this is the first thing we saw:

It was an easy on/off the freeway experience and was a beautiful welcome.  I just love Crepe Myrtle, we live just a bit too far north to grow it, I've tried, LOL.

We went into the office to register and were told we were lucky, we "have the best campsite in the campground".   Surprisingly, they were correct, in our opinion, it was the best site there and if I could have I would have purchased it for future use.

 It was a pull-through as requested and a plenty big spot to be comfortable in our size 5th wheel (40 ft with 4 slide outs).  Much to my enjoyment, we were right beside a small creek it was shady and beautiful.  The only downside was there was a bit of a slope to get down to the creek, but there was plenty of flat area for our picnic table and fire ring.

I don't know why I have such an affinity for water, but I just love being near water, particularly running or moving water, but any water will do, a creek, a lake, the ocean, a bay, I just feel so relaxed and energized when I am near water.  I mean near enough to see, hear, touch it, a couple miles away or even on the other side of a campground doesn't do it.  We seldom manage to get this close to the water, but it was a real blessing to me.  This is the first picture I took standing in the doorway to our trailer and the scene I would see as I sat at my mini studio claying, if I had time to clay here, LOL.

So, we took some time to get settled in and then called the kids and got directions to the buffet where we were planning to have dinner.  We went to the Wood Fire Grill and Buffet (at least I think that was the name of it).  Mr. C and I happen to really appreciate Buffets, if they are good ones, as he can get unlimited salad etc. and everybody can get just what they want.  We met the family there and had lots of hugs and love all around.  It is getting interesting.  When you only get to see your grand kids once a year it makes you almost strangers.  We talk to them on the phone, but only usually see them once a year.   First picture of everybody but me, and second picture with everybody but M (son-in-law).   That's life now days, with all adults working and having limited vacation time and with both kids being military, they don't get to live near us.

The grands are growing so fast and growing up and we know the day is coming when they will no longer want to be bothered with "the old grand parents", LOL.  Fortunately that day isn't here, quite yet, although hugs from the oldest boy, A were a bit stiff (he's 10 now).  So we settled who would sit beside us this time and the extra across and promised we'd switch it up the next time.

A (10), K (8) and J (5)
After a lovely dinner the family followed us back to the campground to spend the evening.  Good thing they went with us, as the road from the restaurant happens to have a turn only lane with no warning and our GPS didn't know it, either.  The family pulled up beside us and said, you need to get in this lane, as the one you're in is a turn only lane ahead, and they held a spot for us to get in front of them.  After lots of delays, "rush hour" and an accident on the highway, we finally made it to the campground.  The kids were absolutely ecstatic over the creek accessibility, LOL.

The first thing we got to do was feed the local ducks.  These were very polite, (at least they were polite to us, but they weren't very nice to the poor baby duck with them, so the grands made a special effort to be sure baby got some bread, too) but funny looking, ducks.  At first we thought they had weird top knots on their heads, but it turned out there were just some messed up feathers.  They ate the bread the kids threw to them and even came up to the trailer looking for more, but there was no nipping, chasing, or crowding.  Once they saw we didn't have any more they went on their way.

K using the last of her carefully hoarded bread crumbs.
We had a lovely evening, just chatting while the kids played in the creek, trying to catch minnows and crawdads (more on that in the next post, A managed to get me something I can use in the second book I'm writing).

Of course Snuffy was with us and wanted to play with the ducks, too, but had to be content to just watch the action.

As it was close to bedtime by then, the family left and we finished settling in and had a lovely night listening to the "peepers" and other night sounds in this lovely secluded campground.  This post is long enough, I'll write another to continue the saga, LOL.
A and J looking for "things to catch"
Snuffles with B and M

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