Honey and the Beast

May 31st, 2022

We live this adventure in our Alliance Paradigm 310. “Honey” is 34’11” long and 13’ 4” tall including her three air conditioners.

We pull her with Tim’s new F 350 diesel short-bed, “the Beast.”

Honey and the Beast in the Smokey Mountains

Honey has a king-sized bed and a closet along the entire front wall which is in the section just over the truck bed. She has a built in dresser and little settee. The bed raises up to open up some much needed storage. We keep our cooler weather clothes and extra blankets under there.

She has a very nice sized bathroom and shower then steps down into the living area and kitchen.

We have a full sized RV refrigerator, a nice sized pantry, microwave and island with a full sized sink.

The living area features a pull out couch and two comfy recliners that face a huge TV. Just under the TV is an electric fireplace that we used when we were in Indiana in March. It kept us nice and warm.

Why is the RV named Honey? I was having a hard time thinking of a name for her and realized that might be because while we always named our cars in the past, we never actually named our home, they were just “home.” Then I thought, “Honey, I’m home!” and she was named!

I’ll post more pictures of the inside later this week. In the meantime, here are some more pictures of our dynamic duo!

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OMG the ribs – and the beans – and the….

May 31, 2022 – Pigeon Forge

http://bestbbqintown.com/

Check out Tim’s plate in the back – almost gone! 🙂

Tim knows I have never been a fan of beef ribs. It’s baby back ribs or no ribs at all for me. So I was surprised when he came out with a “small” plate of ribs for me and there they were – beef ribs.

Reba and I were waiting out on the pup-friendly porch and Boss Hog’s BBQ Shack. We chose it from the Bring Fido app, which has become our go to Open Table now that we are traveling the country with our pup.

https://www.bringfido.com/

While we were waiting, a smiling young woman came out to the porch to bring Reba a bowl of water AND a little cup with some shredded meat.

I believe Reba was seriously considering leaving me for her new best friend. The lady with the meat bowl is serious competition!

Tim places the plate of ribs, green beans and baked beans in front of me, I looked up shook my head and tried the massive beef ribs on the plate fully expecting to pass them right over to him. OMG – I’m a convert! These ribs were meaty and tender and DELICIOUS! The two sauces on the table were amazing. And there was so much in this “small” platter that I was only able to eat two of the five ribs and half of the sides he brought out.

No, I didn’t even let him have my leftovers.

The smiling young woman came out to check on us and to see if we wanted biscuits or cornbread. We both shouted out “CORNBREAD” with our mouths full – she chuckled and bought us each out two pieces of warm, sweet, fabulous cornbread.

Then we met the Boss himself. Bobby came by to see how we were doing. We ended up chatting for quite some time and found out he has a new bride and they have just purchased a house in Turkey. He says he will stay here during “season” and spend time in Turkey in the off season with his wonderful wife!

If you get to Pigeon Forge, don’t miss Boss Hogg’s BBQ Shack!

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Gotta do it

May 31st, 2022

Big washers and dryers do make the task faster.

Laundry. Yes, we could have a unit put into our RV. We made the choice not to do that, because it adds some significant weight to the RV, but also because the units that would fit are pretty small, so we would likely be doing laundry every other day.

So, I’ve gone back to my college days and about every 7-10 days we hit the laundry mat! Most parks have their own laundry facilities, so we can throw a load or two in and head back to our space and handle other tasks. But on occasion I have accidentally booked us into a place with no laundry or very limited laundry. So we go hunting for a local laundromat.

Man, has using a laundromat gotten expensive. Normal sized wash and dryer loads are $2.50 each – the big ones you see in the picture were $4.75 per load. Do some sheets and towels and you are spending $20 – $25 or more for laundry for two.

I feel badly for people who use the laundromat because they either can’t afford a machine or they rent in a place that does not have laundry facilities.

And while the laundromats of today are for the most part clean, air conditioned and pleasant, if you have a large family, the simple cost of doing laundry outside your home can be a burden.

We are fortunate – once we wash, fluff and fold, we will be off to a nice lunch and some adventures!

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Panther Creek State Park

May 30th, 2022 Kodak, TN

Hurry up mom, there might be a squirrel up there!

We are spending this week at a beautiful, mom and pop, RV park called Dumplin Valley RV Park. This gorgeous location was formerly a working farm. Years ago they started hosting a bluegrass festival on their property in the fall and it has grown and grown.

They needed more places for the fans of the festival to stay, so they put in full hookup sites through the farmland. It is beautiful. Here is a picture from our walk yesterday. That’s us on the right.

Honey and the Beast are on the right in the pull through sites.

This morning Tim found the gorgeous Panther Creek State Park about 30 minutes from our campsite. Can you believe that finding views like this is a main part of our life right now? We are very lucky!

Do you think someone owns those islands?

We took a drive around the park, then stopped at the welcome center to get a trail map. We negotiated to a 1.5 mile simple hike. They do have quite a few more trails, some of which can be challenging. Some of the trails are designed for bikes, some for horses and some for old folks like us!

Many of the trails are the same color on the map – did we get lost? Yep!

We only got lost for a few minutes – then Reba and I took on a short hike up a more challenging trail while Tim rested.

I keep expecting to see flowers everywhere, but there are just a few here and there. The ones we did see are gorgeous!

Reba and I went wading in a quick flowing creek for a little bit. She had a blast chasing dragonflies and splashing away. I forgot to bring my camera from the truck!

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Gem just outside of Charlotte

May 27th, 2022 – Charlotte, NC

Reba found this gnome home

We spent part of the day today at Reedy Creek Nature Center and Preserve, which is less than 30 minutes from the hustle, bustle and traffic of Charlotte’s city center.

If you are lucky enough to live near this spectacular parkland, I hope you regularly use this community gem. The park includes a gigantic and well maintained dog park, numerous picnic grounds, basketball and volleyball courts and baseball and soccer fields.

We started this morning in the Barkingham Dog Park, so Reba could get some of her energy out before we hiked a trail. She loved it and I clocked a half mile looping twice around the fence line. Reba probably did 2-3 miles running with her new best dog pals and chasing balls.

Barkingham Dog Park

Reedy Creek’s website says that it started as a land grant from King George to John Selwyn in 1745 and over the years transferred ownership to other families before being purchased by Charlotte in 1981. It was later transferred to Mecklenburg County in 1991. They built the nature center the following year.

Now the team at Reedy Creek cares for 927 acres of incredible beauty. There are many easy to navigate trails that take you around three lakes, and tributaries of Reedy Creek. There are areas to fish and enjoy the water.

If you want something more active, check out the 18 hole disc golf course or the swing garden which I saw from afar.

Reedy Creek holds an annual Hummingbird Festival which has yet to be announced for 2022. Based on the pictures from previous years, it is likely later in the summer when the flowers are in full bloom.

After diving into their website a bit, it looks like a ton of work and money has gone into making Reedy Creek what it is today. They did a fabulous job ensuring that this magical place will be healthy part of the community for generations. Read more at Reedy Creed Restoration Blog below:

https://reedycreekrestoration.com/blog/

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Carowinds Camp Wilderness – Nope

May 29th, 2022 Charlotte, NC

Before I share why I would personally not return to Carowinds Camp Wilderness I have to give huge kudos to their on-site staff.

Every single person we met who works here was outstanding. They were polite, helpful and did everything they could to make our stay as nice as possible.

First off, if you are not from the area you may not know that Carowinds is a large theme park in Charlotte, NC. Although this park is called Carowinds Camp Wilderness do not confuse it with Fort Wilderness at Disney. It is not anything like a Disney property.

The signage when you drive in is pretty and there is space to park as you sign in. But when you walk in to register you can see that the park has seen better days. The camp store is dated and has limited offerings.

The sites are tight, which is not all that uncommon in a park near an urban area. They are marketed as paved, which they were at some point in the past, but on many sites they are so badly eroded that it was very challenging to get all of our tires and pads on the very small paved area.

There is very little room to park your tow vehicle once you are unhooked. We parked across the front of the site, but were so close to our neighbor’s site that they had to ask us to move when they were leaving.

There was no grass on our site. Luckily we have our outdoor rug to keep some of the dirt out of our rig. That worked for a day or so, then the rug became a muddy mess as well. I swept it several times a day but it was a losing battle.

We were disappointed to see that while there is a grill, there is not fire pit or fire ring at the site and once you get your rig on the pad, the grill is incredibly close to your home. We used it, carefully, but it is not well placed on the site.

The picnic table, while large, is falling apart. If we did not have a cover, it would have been unusable.

Then – it rained. It rained hard and every site in our row became a river of mud. The owners need to do some serious work on the drainage if they don’t want to lose the entire line of sites at the back of the park. See where the picnic table is? That is the site our neighbors left the night before. Completely underwater.

They have a pool and it looks clean, but it is dated and uninviting. For goodness sake — you own a water park right next door! Call some folks over to update it!

And although they promote good wifi, it simply does not exist. At all. We tried every device and called the phone number they have on the check-in paperwork, but we were never able to connect. Our neighbors said they had the same experience.

Again, very nice people. Carowinds is lucky to have the staff the do. But unless you are coming simply to be close to the theme park and do not expect anything other than a space to sleep at night. I’d avoid it.

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Good food – even better people

May 26th, 2022 Davidson, SC

I may have over-ordered

Reba and I went on an adventure while Tim had lunch with a colleague today. I googled dog-friendly restaurants and came upon an adorable part of town, outstanding food and some of the nicest people!

If you are in Davidson, SC, check out Carrburritos. I didn’t realize that while they have a beautiful dog-friendly patio, you do have to go in and order. So I was ready to take a walk and find somewhere else to eat while we waited. However, a staff member came over and offered to watch Reba for me while I went in to order. Definitely above and beyond service!!

I went inside and ordered a burrito bowl and white sangria. Another employee brought them out to my table and yet another came out with a bowl of water for the pooch! The burrito bowl was fresh and wonderful. I had the shredded pork with black beans. It came with a nice side of what look like home-made chips, so I probably didn’t need to order the extra side of chips and guacamole, but they will make a wonderful snack later!

The white sangria is light, but flavorful and just the right touch for a casual lunch on the patio.

I would come back for the food alone, but the service, in this day and age – all I can say is WOW!

Thank you to Carrburritos for making this day wonderful!

http://carrburitos.com

Love Salad and Sirloin

May 24, 2002

We do find some fun restaurants on the road. We mostly look for dog friendly places where we can sit outside with Reba and grab a casual meal.

Dinners in are fun too, and necessary not only for our weight, but also for the retirement budget! Tonight Tim cooked a nice sirloin on the grill at our site and I made what we call “Love Salad.” It’s called that because we both love it…. 🙂

It is so yummy!

What goes into love salad?

  • Head of Cauliflower – chopped
  • Bunch of Broccoli – chopped
  • Granny Smith Apple – chopped
  • Red Onion – chopped
  • small bag of Craisins
  • small bag of chopped walnuts
  • one bottle of cole slaw dressing

Mix it all together – throw it in the fridge and let sit for several hours. Delicious!

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Rainy day in Charlotte

May 23, 2022

The gutters work!

What do you do on a rainy day in Charlotte?

We started the day before the storms at a wonderful dog park about 5 miles from the campground. We met a Reba clone and a Puff clone and Reba got some great exercise!

Reba and her clone at the dog park!

And here comes Zeus! He’s a two year old Great Pyrenees just like Emily and Alex’s dog Puff!

Zeus

It is supposed to rain most days we are here in Charlotte, but we will definitely be back at Canine Commons Dog Park when weather allows. Not only is there a huge off leash area, but they have a beautiful walkway along a large pond too!

Our pantry and cabinets could all get reorganized if we get as much rain as it looks like we might get – that is if we are not washed away. The park we are staying at could use some infrastructure work. 🙁

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Hilton Head National RV Park

May 12-22, 2022

Headed to our next stop today. We will be in Charlotte, NC for the next week. Charlotte pals, I‘d love to grab a coffee or invite you over for a campfire and cocktail! We are staying at Carowinds Wilderness RV Resort.

I wrote a few posts about our stay in Bluffton, SC. We stayed at Hilton Head National RV Resort, which is owned and operated by the people who own Hilton Head National Golf. The park just opened a couple of months ago and is simply spectacular.

The sites are huge, concrete and have full hookups. Everything is brand new and first class. There is a large fire pit that we wold have used every day if it had not been 90+ degrees! Each site has a brand new picnic table.

Reba absolutley loved the huge, lush, grassy dog park with a fresh water fountain just for the pups. She met several new pals and chased about a zillion balls. They also have a dog wash that includes three full sized professional dog wash stations.

Tim and I went on walks nearly every morning. The paths are beautifully groomed and circle the RV park and go along the water near the golf course too.

They have a wonderful pool with a lazy river and a cople of water features. There is a beautiful brand new playground for the kids and two bars and a restaurant too!

One side of the park is designated for adults only and they have their own pool.

The staff was wonderful and helpful. Most of them are work campers, meaning they live on site and work a few days a week. Tim and I think that might be a really fun thing to do after we get our two girls married and do our western loop next year!

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