Slowing Down At Edisto Beach

Are you a person who thinks of the beach as a place for amusement parks, stores on every block crammed with cheap souvenirs, fast food overload and musical extravaganzas? Then you can skip this entry. However, if like us you crave long sandy, uncrowded beaches, waves crashing, shelling, local seafood and biking trails then read on. Edisto Beach has nicknamed itself Edislow and takes pride in its retro, small town atmosphere. The local food store is a small IGA. There are no McDonalds or Kentucky Colonels but wonderful local restaurants. A few small beach shops but no 3 story Wings on every corner. While some beach homes are large and modern many are small, modest structures reminding you of the day when non-millionaires could own waterfront property. There are as many bikes as cars here and the town is very walkable. Edisto, SC is located about halfway between Charleston and Beaufort on Edisto Island. We stayed at Edisto State Park which has two campgrounds, the Beach loop and the Live oak loop. The Beach loop as you might guess needs to be reserved well in advance. I’d made reservations for August in the middle of June and it was already full. The Beach loop only has 30 amp power which is fine for smaller rigs with one AC unit. At 35′ and two AC units which we definitely needed in mid August, we were happy to be in the Live Oak loop with 50 amps. The water at the state park tastes horrible so if you come have your own tank of water and/or plan to buy bottled water for drinking. The water is fine for cooking and household use. The town has a filter on their supply so no problem there. The beach was only a mile down the road. Getting into the campground with our rig was tight. There was one spot where we missed a tree at a corner by just a few inches. Our site backed to salt marsh and was very private. Now for some much needed down time. Is there anything better than a day spent lounging in a beach chair, jumping waves and swimming to be followed by an after dinner walk on the beach. Pets are allowed on the beach if leashed and of course you must pick up after them.

There were several bike trails that Opal and I used every morning for our walks and boardwalks over the marsh that served as platforms for birding. One morning I spotted a heron I didn’t recognize . It turned out to be a juvenile tricolor heron. Egrets, blue heron, roseate spoonbills and wood storks were also seen. We’d just bought an iPad and had downloaded an app for Sibley’s Bird Identification. Being full timer we needed to find an alternative to carrying all the books we want to read or use for reference. We did bring our library of travel books. While I’m thinking about it, we use the DeLorme Gazatteer map books for each state we visit. as guides for things to see and do. Oh, I forgot to mention that I have a new bike. I love it. It’s an Electra Townie seven speed. The pedals are set a bit forward for a more comfortable sitting position. Great for those of us with short legs! What a difference a good bike makes. Is there anything better than biking at the beach? The new bike is purple and Steve said all I needed now was a red hat to wear with it!

Our friend Liz from Charlotte came down for the weekend to continue our celebration. At the suggestion of another friend, we had dinner on Friday at the Old Post Office. For this area it is an upscale restaurant next to a very nice gallery. Saturday we bought crab , shrimp and some locally made crab boil (two types: spicy and really spicy). Later on in the week we ate at an ocean front restaurant called The Pavilion and a local dive called Whaley’s. Whaley’s is the type of place you’d see on Diners, Drive-in and Dives but oh the seafood is great and the portions huge. We bought fresh shrimp and made our favorite shrimp, green pepper and pineapple kabobs. The other local place we used was Kings. They have fresh vegetables, locally canned goodies and homemade prepared dishes. The farmland Kings owns has been in the family for six generations.

While Liz was with us, we drove to nearby Botany Bay. This nature preserve is on land donated from two old rice and cotton plantations. There is a ten mile drive through the property. Admission is free but you must sign in. The area is best known for its beautiful beach with massive shell beds and artful dead trees still standing in the water. We’d hoped to return for some picture taking later in the week but didn’t do so. You can see some pics from 2010 in our old blog under Charleston at http://www.vagabondpress.wordpress.com. Don’t think about removing shells or you’ll be hit with a $480 fine. Volunteers closely monitor the beach.

We did return to kayak a marsh area from the landing at stop #10 on the scenic drive. It’s tidal so time your trip for high water. We saw dolphins, kingfishers and lesser blue herons. On the way back the tide was starting to go out. We passed an oyster bed spouting water like the Trevi Fountain. If you go, take bug spray both for you and for the area. The mosquitos are bloodthirsty!

We wanted to do something special to celebrate the transition in our lives. A fishing charter seemed appropriate. Steve has been a fisherman all his life while Chari had been fishing only once since she was five years old. We met our guide at 8am and were out for four hours on the Edisto river and about a mile offshore. Our guide, Jimmy, hooked a fish and passed the rod to Chari. Whatever it was gave me a good fight for 7-10 minutes. I was thrilled when I landed a 29″, 12 lb. red drum fish. Instead of being dinner it had to be thrown back. The slot for keepers was 15″-23″. Larger than that were considered breeders. We did catch some trout and whitefish that made two dinners. Steve landed a 30″ skate after a fifteen minute fight. A ray kept running and broke his line. We both hooked small bonnet head sharks. What a fun morning! Hopefully we’ll get to do this again soon.

travel, fishing, Edisto

Beginners Luck

Have you heard about The Angel Oak on Johns Island? It’s a huge live oak estimated to be between 300-400 years old. That’s only 45 minutes from Edisto so off we went with cameras in hand. A very impressive sight. Many branches were covered with resurrection fern which gets its name because it dries up and turns brown in dry times only to ‘spring’ back to life verdant and healthy at the first rain.

South Carolina, Angel Oak

Steve gives perspective to the size of the Angel Oak

travel, photography

Resurrection Fern

nature, photography

A Captivating Site

As we were leaving Angel Oak Park, we saw a sign for an old church just about a mile away. So we turned left and headed off to find it. It was Johns Island Presbyterian Church. The original sanctuary was built in 1710 and expanded in 1823. Had we known about it we’d have scheduled our visit for Wednesday AM when they give tours.

history

Johns Island Presbyterian Church

All too soon it was time to say goodbye. We always kid about “when we come back…” but this time we really mean it. This stop is a keeper.

Nuts and Bolts #1

Nuts and Bolts  (The Everyday Stuff for RV Living)

Hi…  This is Steve.  Chari has been doing most of the posting on this blog, with one or two asides from Opal, but occasionally I may throw in my two cents. I thought I’d start a series of posts about the normal, routine stuff that non-RVers may not be aware of.  And even those who have RVs but use them for weekend trips and vacations.  Living full-time in one is very different. 

A few years ago, while visiting the First Flight Museum at Kittyhawk, North Carolina, the docent was pointing out the distances of the Write Brother’s first four flights.  I don’t recall the exact numbers, but each successive flight increased from roughly 120 feet to something over 800.  “Why do you think this was?” he asked.  Well, no one had ever flown before, and with each additional attempt, they were learning to fly.  When Chari and I got our first camper trailer, there were a lot of things we hadn’t considered.  We started calling our adventures and misadventures “Learning to Fly”. 

“Learning to Fly” included all sorts of things.  I remember very clearly lesson number one…  Carry Lumber.  We’ve found from camping at lots of locations that there is a tremendous difference in campsites.  Some are paved; most are not.  Some are perfectly level; most are not.  Some don’t even come close!  If the site is off level “fore and aft”, it isn’t a big deal, since the front of the trailer could be raised or lowered with the tongue jack.  But off level side to side is a different story.  The solution here is to park the trailer with one two or sometimes even three two by eights under the left or right side tires.  I wish someone had a camera to take a picture of me cooking breakfast on our first morning…  standing on one foot with the other raised so I could hold the frying pan on the stove with my knee while I tried to crack eggs and have them land in the pan instead of all over the stove as the pan crashed to the floor!  The next trip, we had lots of lumber with us!

We thought that after a couple of years of trailering, we had things down pat, but full timing is different than weekending or even long vacationing.  Lesson number one here is all about “stuff”.  How much “stuff” do we want?  How much “stuff” do we need?  How much “stuff” do we actually have room for?  Three questions, and three very different answers!  When we first started out, we thought it might be a good idea to keep Chari’s Suburu as a second car.  It would be a good “running around” car, we could use it as a shuttle car if we wanted to do some kayaking or biking, and we could use it to carry “stuff”.  It would mean we would have to travel from one place to another separately, but it would probably be worth it.  It wasn’t.  We were mostly using the truck for our running around, the car was loaded with “stuff” that was almost totally inaccessible, and we missed driving together.  One day we unloaded all our stuff and laid it all out to decide what we really needed to have with us.  When it was all out, we couldn’t believe what we had dragged along with us.  WHY?  Did we really think we’d need a large Totes container full of Christmas tree decorations?  In an RV?  Luckily, since the house in Charlotte hadn’t sold yet, we were still staying in the general vicinity, and all the “stuff” we decided we didn’t really need with us but still didn’t want to part with, we took to our long-term storage unit for the time when we eventually decide to settle down.  Other stuff went to the trash, or if it was good enough, to Goodwill.

 We have a lifestyle we want to keep, and that means holding on to a lot of things someone else might not.  We want our bicycles.  We want our kayaks.  Keeping kayaks means keeping other things like life jackets, paddles, etc.  I want my fishing tackle.  We need to keep a certain amount of tools and hardware.  We need clothes for four seasons.  And clothes for the rare occasions when we want to “dress up”.  We have Opal, and that means carrying things like dog food.  All this takes up space, and space is at a premium in an RV. 

 We’ve got things down to a manageable level now.  We have a place for everything we’ve decided we need, but I’m sure as time goes by, we’ll pare down some more.  This will be a never-ending process.   

 So, this is the kind of thing I’ll be talking about in “Nuts and Bolts”.  Our daily routine.  How we pack up to move.  How we set up when we get to where we’re going.  The different types of campgrounds we find and what we like or don’t like about them. 

 

Stay tuned.

 

Going, Going …. Gone!

Our next three stops were back in the Carolinas. This five week period was not so much about where we were as about waiting for the house closing set for August 15. Dealing with a house under contract isn’t easy for anyone but especially when you must handle everything long distance. For example the Realtor’s office called and said “the home inspector saw a big copperhead near the crawl space and wouldn’t go in to finish the inspection. Do you want us to call Critter Control?” What could we say? We knew the snake wouldn’t hang around waiting for Critter Control but the inspection had to be done. So yes, send them over. No snake found but they suggested baiting for mice to prevent a food source. So $200 and 2 weeks later we get the report. Even though this is the third inspection on this house there is a long list of findings. Thanks to a wonderful handyman we know most of them could be handled by him. One item we refused to do was install a $1000 dehumidifier in the crawl space as the inspector found the humidity there to be above 22%. Hello. This is August in NC where it has rained a lot, temp over 95. Is there anywhere the humidity is less than 22% without AC? (This is Steve here… 22%?  I don’t think the Sahara Desert is 22%!)

As for our next stop, we went to Medoc Mountain State Park. This was our first experience with an NC State Park as most do not offer RV hookups. It is a small park just off I95 and north of Rocky Mount. Temperatures continued between 95-100 degrees so we didn’t feel like doing hiking or kayaking. We did manage to ride our bikes early in the day for about 4 miles every morning. There isn’t really a mountain here. The park is named for a 300 foot high ridge that is the highest landmark between the piedmont and the coast. This area was once thriving small towns in the tobacco and cotton farming area which now is sadly depressed. We drove around a lot but didn’t find much to do. Neither Steve or Chari had ever seen tobacco in flower so of course we had to stop in one of the fields and snap a picture.

The one attraction in the area we really enjoyed was Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park. It’s one of the largest sanctuaries and breeding facilities for waterfowl from all over the world. We splurged for the photographer’s pass ($30) which provides a key to open ports for fence free views. We haven’t had time to go back and identify all of the birds. I hope you just enjoy seeing them.

nature

birds, travel

Scarlet Ibis

birds, photography

photography, travel

birds

birds

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birds

Ready, Set, Go

After a week we moved on to the Poplar Point Campground at Jordan Lake State Recreation Area near Raleigh. This is a very large area with a total of over 600 sites divided between tents with no electric and water/electric sites for RVs. When we arrived our assigned site was on a curve with a guardrail on one side and a drop off on the other. Normally Steve gets the trailer in on the first or second try. Here it took about 6-7 tries along with hugging the rail to allow enough room to turn the truck. Looking at sites on the web only gives you so much information. Whenever we go to a new park we walk around and mark the best sites for future reference. Once we were in, the site was wooded and private. Our only problem with the park was that the bathrooms were not well maintained. We chose to use our own shower as a solution. The lake is large and during the middle of the week we kayaked with very little boat traffic. There were several sandy beaches for swimming. We coaxed opal in up to her stomach but even with us out in the water she wouldn’t swim. She’d go back up on the beach and try to herd us in. Her border collie instincts I guess.

One morning we went to the Raleigh Farmers Market for breakfast and to do a bit of shopping. Oh, those peach and white chocolate scones were to die for!  We came back with a chess pie, sun dried tomato cheddar cheese, fresh tomatoes, hard rolls and pulled pork for dinner. We eat very well on the road.

It was here that we decided keeping the Subaru wasn’t practical. Plus we missed driving together. Now what to do with all the stuff stored in the little car? More downsizing was needed. So out everything came. We’d need to rent another small storage unit. Gone was the large tub of X-mas decorations and my ‘someday’ sewing and knitting items. Gone was the extra heavy winter garb with the idea that if it gets that cold we’re out of here! Somehow we made it all work.

Next it was onto Lake Wateree State Park near Winnsboro, SC just off I77 about halfway between Charlotte and Columbia. We’d been here about 2 years ago but didn’t remember there was no cell service here. This came at a very inconvenient time since we were fielding many calls from the closing coordinator and emails about repairs. So we’d drive around until we could get a signal and then park along side of the road or in a lot.

For those of you who didn’t know about our previous blog, if you are interested in reading those posts go to http://vagabondpress.wordpress.com . This blog was left midstream when we put the house on the market but we do intend to get back and finish it… some day!

Every morning Opal and Chari had their long walks often seeing heron and egrets. One morning a red fox ran across the road. We had time to bike a bit but didn’t get on the lake. Steve was busy repairing our bed and adapting our cargo carrier on the back to accept the bikes the Subaru had been carrying. We drove the hour and a half up to Charlotte several times for appointments and clearing out the very last few items from the garage. One evening as we returned home, we saw another trailer with bikes mounted on a rack similar to ours. We stopped and talked. He also showed us an adaptation he’d made for the outside shower when he was at the beach. Then we found out he was traveling by himself down to Bahia Honda SP in Florida to be a volunteer. His wife was still working and would join him later. To say thanks for all of his information, we asked him over for dinner and spent the evening exchanging travel info and adventures. Hopefully we’ll keep in touch.

Less than a week to go. We were both nervous but not saying much. We’d been here before. Our stomachs were the size of walnuts. Surely everything would go fine this time. Time to move on to Edisto State Park on the SC coast. We moved the trailer and stayed one night. Back to Charlotte on 8/14 to stay with our friend Cheryl for two nights. Tomorrow was THE DAY. We are glad to be able to say all went well. After the closing, we returned to Spicewood one last time to pick up Opal. As we drove out of the driveway we sang “So long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, adieu……GOODBYE……..Good Bye……..good bye……………”

Our Former Home

Our Former Home

A good time was had by all who could come and celebrate with that night. We were finally Homeless and Loving It!

Along The Crooked Road

We thought the trip from Pennsylvania to the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area in southwestern Virginia would be about 5 hours. It took almost seven hours due to I 81 being closed down southbound for an accident and roads leading to the Grindstone campground being very curvy. Our friends, Kathy and Joe were already there in the site next door. It’s a beautiful wooded National Forest campground with two camping loops. The mountains and trees prevent cell and internet service here. This would be our first experience with being incommunicado. We’d be here for 13 days. For 10 of those days it either rained all day or we had thundershowers. The Mount Rogers National Recreation Area lies in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Mount Rogers is the highest point in Virginia. The second highest is Whitetop Mountain which was about 3 miles from our campground. We drove the dirt road up to the top of Whitetop every day to give Opal some off leash time and to enjoy the view. One morning it was very foggy and gave the area an other worldly feel. Temperatures in the area were 10-20 degrees less than the lowlands and offered a welcome break from the heat.

photography, Whitetop Mountain

Steve in the Fog At Whitetop

wildflowers

Wildflowers at Whitetop

wildflowers

Blowing in the Wind

Whitetop Mountain, Virginia

On A Clear Day, You Can See Forever

travel

From Whitetop Summit

The nearest town was Damascus about 9 miles away. Occasionally we could get cell coverage at Whitetop but this was the closest internet. We did a lot of just driving around the area on back roads because it was so pretty. One afternoon the four of us stopped in Damascus to have lunch. We stopped at a local fast food store. It was 2PM. We were told that they only had one chicken wing left. We had a good laugh visualizing four of us sharing a wing! Then we went across the street to a BBQ place that looked like it was the basement of a house. The sign pointing to the entry was marked ENTERANCE. There were no tables or places to sit so we took our food outside to the picnic table. Damascus seems to have one main attraction, the Virginia Creeper Trail. That’s a well known bike rail trail of about 35 miles. There must be at least eight bike rental/shuttle companies in Damascus. We  found a local ice cream store for dessert. After looking at a cross section of the trail, I knew I couldn’t handle the decent with my coaster brake bike. So we postponed that for another time and moved getting a new bike for me to the top of the “after the house sells” list. However, Steve, Opal and I did hike about 2-3 miles along the trail another day. It is beautiful.

I titled this post the Crooked Road because the main highway through this area, Hwy 58, is called just that, for obvious reasons. It’s also known as the Virginia Music Trail. The road runs between Galax and Abingdon. There are many venues along the way to enjoy both professional bluegrass and local mountain music. We went to Galax and I picked up an armful of brochures. One brochure listed all of the towns along Hwy 58 that had regularly scheduled local jams. I’d hoped to see the weekly performances at the Rex Theatre in Galax but we never made it back there. OK so do I get to say “When we come back, now?” We chose to go to the town of Fries (pronounced like freeze) which is an old mill town on the New River. Fries is supposed to have more musicians per capita than any other town. We just drove until we saw several cars parked and asked if this was where the music was. The jam is free but donations are appreciated. It was well worth it. There were about 12 musicians in a circle with bass, guitar, violin, mandolin and autoharp. Anyone can bring their instrument and join in or sing. The one teenager in the group was a grandson of another musician who had come down from Michigan to learn to play mountain music. He had a guitar and a ukelele. Other locals danced. Some did line dancing while other flat stepped. Steve and I even took a turn at learning the two-step. We hadn’t brought cameras so I used my iPhone. I even took some videos. As I’m writing this, I just learned how to download from the phone and move the videos into my movies folder. Am I getting geeky or what? So now We’ll upgrade the blog and I’ll try to share some of these with you.

Since the rain curtailed outdoor activities on many days we looked to local museums and prowled the small towns in the area. We went to the Museum of Middle Appalachia in Saltville. This is a local museum dedicated to the history and natural resources of the Saltville area. As the name indicates it was a major salt mining area as well as aluminum and  magnesium. (On a later trip to Martinsville, VA and the Virginia Natural History Museum we’d see fossils collected from Saltville) We found the museum very interesting. I’d never heard of the flood that devastated this area. It reminded me of the Johnstown Flood but on a smaller scale as the cause was poor choices by man (in this case industry) combined with ignoring warning signs that led to the disaster. After a period of economic decline Saltville is seeing new development in their natural resources and the salt mining has been reopened. We also spent time in Hillsville at their museum which highlights a crime that occurred at the Courthouse. The Hillsville Massacre happened when a breakout from the courthouse during a trial left several men dead. The story was picked up by a New York  reporter and became one of the first widely circulated crime stories across the nation.

We spent a day in Abingdon and visited the Barter Theatre and the new artisan’s gallery at Heartwood. Since our third anniversary was on july 17th, we decided to celebrate with dinner at the Martha Washington Inn and a play. The Inn is across the street from the theatre. It was a private residence then a college before being restored and opened as a luxury hotel and restaurant. The food was excellent. The play was a one man show called “Over the President’s Shoulder” and was the story of a White House butler who was training to be a concert singer but had to forego his career during the depression. He served Hoover, FDR, Truman (his favorite) and Eisenhower. Having enjoyed the mini-series Backstairs at the White House, we  weren’t disappointed in the play. We’d dressed for the occasion. Before leaving the campground we’d spoken with the gate attendant about access after hours. The gate normally is locked at 10pm. He assured us the gate would be left open with the lock placed as if to look as if it were locked. We arrived to find the gate locked! So the car was left outside and we began walking the quarter mile back to the campground. No flashlight in the car and no lights after passing the gatehouse. It was pitch black.  I was in a long skirt and heels. The only thing we had to light the way was my cell phone and that would only stay lit for 15 seconds at a time. We were laughing and I’m sure anyone who saw or heard us thought we were drunk.

Steve and I spent one clear day bike riding on the new Salt bike trail. We hadn’t expected it to be continuously downhill so hadn’t arranged a shuttle. The 3.5 miles down were fun. The return trip with my clunker of a bike not so much fun! Another day we drove to Grayson Highlands State Park. Before we could hike to see the wild horses it began to rain. Even though the weather wasn’t the best we enjoyed the scenery and found some picturesque wildflowers.

wildflowers

wildflowers

photography, wildflowers

Turks Cap Lily

Grayson Highlands

Grayson Highlands View

On the Blue Ridge Parkway is the Blue Ridge Music Center. This is a museum explaining the roots and history of mountain music. They also have daily live music performances. The day we visited a group of four musicians were playing. One had a bass made out of a washtub. In the audience  of a dozen or so was a local woman who pulled out a set of spoons and played along with the band.

With our intermittent communications we were pleasantly surprised one day to have an e-mail from our Realtor with a new counter offer from the folks who had put in the very low bid. This time, although not what we wanted, it was within negotiation range. We went back and forth several times and finally came to an agreement. Our house was back under contract!!

We loved our time here and would come back any time. Now we head back to NC for a busy time dealing with the house.

UP and Down in Pennsylvania

We’re heading north to spend time with Steve’s family in Chambersburg. His brother Fred and new wife, Chris, are coming in from Michigan. They were married last month so we’ll celebrate with a dinner at EJs restaurant in a few days. Another reason to celebrate is Chris’ being awarded her Phd in Education. We were staying at Western Village RV Park in Carlisle. This is one of the few private parks we used all summer. It was also one of the nicest ones we’ve ever used. There is a state park near Steve’s sister but they don’t allow dogs. Hey, I’m not a dog. I’m a people. Someone just stuck me in this funny looking dog suit.

This was the first time any of Steve’s family would see the new fifth wheel. We’d planned to have everyone out for a picnic dinner. The temperature did not cooperate. With forecasts for 100 plus the plans were changed to eating at Cathy’s and then dessert at the trailer. We’d had dinner with Cathy and Scott on Friday. We’d planned on hamburgers and franks for Sunday (the family picnic) and Cathy had also planned on the same thing for Saturday. So without checking Steve and I bought chicken for Sunday. You guessed it, Cathy also changed her mind and bought chicken for Saturday! We managed to squeeze 9 people into the trailer for dessert. I never would have guessed that many people would fit.

Before I forget to mention, on this visit I discovered there is a link between Charlotte, NC and Chambersburg, PA. John Jacks who is credited with riding from Charlotte to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia with the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, aka Meck Dec, (said to have been a year before our Declaration of Independence) stopped overnight at a tavern in Chambersburg. The tavern was owned by Jacks family members and considered a safe house. In Charlotte we have a statue to John Jacks and in Chambersburg at the roundabout in town is a plaque near the site of the tavern.

Up, up and away! Fred, Chris, Steve and Chari got up at 3:45AM and ready to leave Carlisle by 5AM for a hot air balloon ride over the Amish countryside with The United States Hot Air balloon Team  www.ushotairballoon.com/pa_flights/lancaster-county.asp/www.ushotairballoon.com/pa_flights/lancaster-county.asp. We would take off from Bird-In-Hand, PA at 6AM.  Chari was the only one who had gone ballooning before. It promised to be another very hot day. Our pilot  told us we were lucky to have chosen the AM flight as the late day heat mixed with the heat from the burner made things very uncomfortable. We were also told to bring a hat. Steve forgot and found out that the top of his head got very hot from the burner! Getting up and in the basket proved a challenge for those of us with short legs. We watched the balloon fill and took off with 10 people in the basket slowly climbing to an altitude of 4,000 feet. The farms are so beautifully kept. It looked like a patchwork quilt. Then down we went into a quarry before landing in a field. The flight lasted about an hour. After the team had man-handled the balloon to the road stuffed it into the bag, and loaded it onto the truck we toasted with champagne. Here are some of our favorite pics.  

hot air balloon

Chari, Fred and Chris with “our chariot”

travel

Early to bed, early to rise….

hot air balloon
Turning on the Burner

Filling with Air

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And Away We Go

Steve’s Flying High

Amish, Pennsylvania

Above the Amish Farms

photography, Amish

Me and my Shadow

hot air balloon

Perfect Landing

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Over Too Soon

As the saying goes, what goes up must come down. Beginning on Wednesday evening, Opal was not feeling well. She had diarrhea. We thought maybe something she ate didn’t agree with her or maybe different water was causing the problem. The problem continued through Thursday and got worse. She had us up several times that night. She’d been a very healthy dog until now. At some point in our journey I knew we’d have to deal with a medical issue. Again, I just didn’t think it would be so soon. We called my sister-in-law to get her vet’s number. They don’t do emergency calls. The number they referred us to was 30 miles in the opposite direction or 60 miles away. So Friday AM we got on the computer and found a vet in Carlisle about 10 miles away. Before we could get going Opal began bleeding. Now we were really worried. The vet in Carlisle  was booked since it was the day before July 4th but referred us to the Banfield Clinic at a nearby PetsMart. Both for myself and my animals I’ve always shied away from corporate controlled medicine. Beggars can’t be choosers so off we went. What a pleasant surprise this was. From the receptionist to the technicians and the vets we received prompt, thorough and professional care for Opal. The communication with us was excellent. Before the examination could be completed, Opal “exploded”. The examination room was covered everywhere in blood. It looked like an axe murderer had been there. Later when we were talking with one of the vets she said “that was impressive!” Opal needed to stay in the hospital for medication and IVs but came home that evening since they don’t have night time attendants. We brought her back on Saturday for another treatment. By then her symptoms were controlled and she could travel. I have a reputation for not being very nice to the vet when I go for my regular checkups. They’ve even given me some stuff to make me dopey. I knew these folks were trying to help me. I felt so bad I didn’t care. I was even nice to other dogs!

In the midst of getting Opal care we also had to deal with moving the trailer. We were due to leave on Friday. The RV park couldn’t accommodate us as they were fully booked due to a car show in the area. So Steve moved the trailer to a storage area at the park and we stayed with his sister. We called the next campground and told them to hold our reservations that we anticipated being there just a day late. As if that wasn’t enough, we also were informed of an offer on our house. It was 30K below our asking price. We countered but didn’t hear back. So we figured it was just someone trying to take advantage of the house being vacant. We put it out of our minds.

On Sunday with temperatures hovering over 100 degrees we left for southwestern Virginia.