Three states added to our map!

I realize the review of the camp grounds we stay at will be on the other blog but I really must share my joy with how awesome this one is!! we are in Coatsville, PA near West Chester and I am shocked at how beautiful it is here. Not just here but really our entire drive from VA today was great... I suppose I was expecting huge city traffic, tons of nothing but buildings and bumpers but that was not at all what we had for pretty much all of our 250 miles of driving. 

Like I noted in the last post, we are following Good Sam (an rv camper site) on the route and so far it has really been great.  The only no-so-pretty place was the tunnel but that was pretty cool in itself. Annabelle dug it and wanted to turn around and go again!  NOT....  I have a photo but I can't load it here on the campsite's wifi... It will have to wait, sorry.


Both girls have done really well all things considered.  We have broken the trip into 4-5 hour stints until our last stop in CT where we will be only 90 miles from our Rhode Island home.  They have watched about 20 movies and have thankfully enjoyed them. The only negative is Addison won't keep the head phones on her head for that long so I have gotten to listen to abut 20 movies.  Personally, I'd rather listen to them than hear the twosome scream.. Addison has some lungs let me tell you! 

We arrived here about 4pm and quickly set up camp.  The temps were great, in the mid 80's and low humidity, THANK THE LORD... we decided to head to the pool and let the girls burn off some pent up energy.  They did!   We just finished dinner and showers and the girls are finishing up the 1000 viewing of The Wizard of Oz before heading off for bed. 

It truly is beautiful here.. I can't wait to take photos tomorrow so you can see.  I suppose I will have to let John drive so I can snap away as we meander the small roads and little towns.  That has been a negative for me, having to drive as well and not being able to snap shots along the route.  I really wish I could document what we are seeing along the way.  Not that any of it has been noteworthy. 

The cats are fine, relatively happy I suppose.  As happy as two cats can be being bounced around in the RV on these roads. 

OH! I forgot to mention we crossed the Mason Dixon line today... It is official we are in Yankee country!  haha... I called mom to tell her.  See, that would be something I would like to have taken a photo of.  Ah well.. maybe we can make a road trip to that line and document! 

Tomorrow we are meeting an online friend (jess) who is a mom via surrogacy too!!  I think the girls will dig it as well because we are going to a bouncy house place.  A great way to burn off some energy! 

Will try my best to take and post photos..

Love to you all

Carolyn

This is not a review of the campsite....

This is not a review of our campsite here in Virgina but merely a post about this leg of our journey North to Rhode Island.

We spent a week with John and Carolyn (Sr) and really enjoyed ourselves...  The girls were there for two weeks and could have stayed longer, I am sure.  We headed out Sunday morning, traveling about 250 miles or so to Williamsburg Virgina.  We decided to follow good sams directions as to how to get to our location to ensure we didn't head down a road that we wouldn't fit (did that on the way to NC). This route kept us off the interstate 95% of the way which was really nice actually..  Much less traffic and really pretty to be honest.  I don't think the drive was much longer or further either.  The cats rode in the RV, in their crates which made me a tad worried when I saw 105 on my thermometer for outside temp.  I know it isn't as hot inside but I also knew it couldn't have been very cool.. 

The drive took us about 4 1/2 hours and we all arrived in once piece.  The camp grounds looked nice so we excitedly checked in and started our way to our site.  #19...  We unloaded, moving the cats to my van and leaving the girls in their (with ac) until we could get the RV set up and cooled down.  It takes about 45-60 minutes to get it really set up, water, sewer, power, ac and directv.  Keep in mind it is 105+/-.   We get everything unpacked (i.e. pool. wagon, bikes, and all the stuff we cram into the RV for travel) and turned on.  It is still hot inside the RV but not as hot as outside so we unload the girls (and the cats) and put everyone inside.  I hear a "click" and noticed the back AC unit has tripped a breaker.  I reset it and it does it again minutes later.  This happens a few times and John decides to go to the desk and inquire if anyone else has had this problem.  They send someone to check it out, all the while the girls are playing in the little pool we bring with us while camping..

The maintenance guys show up and after about 30 minutes it is decided the plug isn't supplying enough amperage to run our RV.  We require 50 amps and it wasn't giving us that much, thus the reason the two ac units wouldn't run.  (they pull most of the power we require)  So, John heads up to the office and is told "we have 30 arrivals today, I am not sure what to do with  you"  John replies "I made my reservation over a month ago so I don't know who you are doing to be disappointing but it isn't going to be me, what site would you like us to move to?"  "#35 is open" she tells him, "good, that is what we were wanting" states John. .#35 is the next row over but pulling through our #19 site is only two slots up the road so it was perfect!

SO..... now, we get to undo everything we just did, in 106 degree temps as well reload the girls and cats in my van.  I drove around the grounds once and Addison was fast asleep and Annabelle was watching a movie, so I headed back to #19 and helped John with the moving process.. gees, nothing like moving in the middle of moving... NOT FUN.  So we did a quick move and then unloaded once again at site #35.  Much better, truthfully .... and right next to the bath house.  Personally I like being steps away from the shower, it makes for easier "black water" removal if you don't put any "black water" in the system!  haha...

Now we are set up once again in a new site and the second AC unit continues to trip.  Over and over.  we finally changed the setting to 80 and lowered the fan to low and that seemed to fix the problem.  We think it was most likely the unit was just over worked and couldn't keep up.  The thermostat is now at 74 and we have had no problems.  (knock wood)

John and Addison slept in the living area per usual and Annabelle and I got the bed, per usual. The kitties, which Addison has fallen in LOVE with all of the sudden, slept in the kitchen area in their crates. 

Traveling with cats has been a challenge but really, not too bad.  They are probably in shock being locked up essentially for almost a month now but seems to be hang in in and thankful they are still a part of the family. 

Today we went to Water Country, a part of Busch Gardens and had a blast!  I was really worried because the last time we went to a water park with Annabelle she freaked out and wouldn't do anything but scream.  Not so here!  The water was warm and the air was hot but not too hot, high 80s.  There was always a breeze so it never felt hot at all. Annabelle had a great time but is certainly more timid than her little sister.  Addison was game for anything!  She wanted to ride all the rides and we all rode "big daddy falls".  Annabelle and John rode it twice, Addison was done after the first time down and feel asleep in my arms on our way back to the area we staked claim to when we got there. She slept there for about an hour on my chest.  Very sweet.  It wasn't crowded at all, at least not like I was expecting so it was certainly a great day. 

Ok, so for some reason my post published before I was finished (or had proofed it) so sorry about that...

I failed to mention, Water Country today was totally free!  They offer a once a year free visit for military families and being that we have never been nor lived near a Busch Garden's establishment we decided to take advantage of it on our PCS... thus the reason for going a tad out of the way to stay here.

We just got back from the second half of our Water Country adventure/day and the girls are in bed, with little fuss.  John and I are about to enjoy some adult beverages (not sure what yet) and relax out side with the cats...
We have added two new states to our map, North Carolina, thanks to John who slept in the RV with no AC just so we would have that sticker, and Virginia!  5 States down, two more on this trip alone!! 









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We love and miss you all...

Carolyn

Homeless....we kinda like it!

So, we have arrived at John and Carolyn's (AKA, Gran and Odie)  but not without some Evans' adventure.   I will back up a few days and fill you in,

Friday, 16 July we scheduled to clear housing and depart for North Carolina.  Packing finished up the night before, much to my surprise they actually got it all done with little pain.  So, Friday morning comes and we head to 1764 (I will no longer call it home, as it isn't home anymore) and hope "Brenda" can come earlier than our 11am appointment time and clear us so we can drive.  9:30 comes and she is free so she arrives and does our walk through.  I have been warned about clearing housing and was sick to my stomach in fear that we were going to do something/more to the house before they would give John the stamp to clear. Much to my joy the inspection lasted less than 10 minutes and we were off.  Seemed kind of short but we were thrilled!

We stop by the flying J to get the truck weighed and discovered that we were OVER our weight (17,000) limit counting what we were taking ourselves! YIKES... We'll still get paid for 1500 or so but we were certainly heavier than expected.

Off we go, East on 24 toward Nashville... Nothing but the sound of the radio and the FRIGGIN cats meowing ... for 120 miles!! no kidding.  I told John we were going to have to change the plan and do something/anything different with the cats.  So, into the Montana they go... It was a little hot but probably not more than 80 so I wasn't worried.  Too much.  I was  NOT sobbing as I drove through Nashville for the last time (as a resident!) though I did shed a tear or two listening to "the house that built me" by Miranda Lambert...

The drive is uneventful, talking to friends and family on the way and enjoying the music and lack of meowing.  That is until we head up I-81 toward Bristol, TN.   The same place we got snowed in over the Christmas holiday.  EXACTLY the same place. I am following John, helping to allow him over to pass when needed.  He started up a slow grade hill and slowed down, to 50... then 40 and so on...  I can't see around him but figured he was behind someone that was going slow.... The left lane cleared and no signal for me to get over... heart beat elevates...  my cell phone rings, "I think we have a problem"  I hear on the other end...  "what do you mean?"  I reply... "I am flooring my truck and have a warning light that tells me I have reduced engine power"  My response was silence...

At this point we are going 35 MPH up a hill on the interstate, me behind him watching my rear view mirror praying the trucks see me and don't slam into me...  We slowly inch our way up the hill, pulling off once to get out of traffic and praying with all our might that the hill crests and we get a break and can coast downhill to an exit.  Four miles down the road we make it off the interstate and the ONLY thing at this exit is the Tennessee Highway Patrol station... THANK GOD!!  We pull in and speak to a very nice officer who told us we were allowed to keep the truck and RV in the parking lot and warned us that if we called someone from Greene County they would stick it to us.   We got in the car, cats in tow and headed up the road to an exit with hotels.  Calling Odie to find out what AAA could get us and lucky for us I just downloaded the USAA app and yet again, it saved our butts!!  John called "road side assistance" and ultimately we were put in touch with the looney truck and trailer.  Bryan came out, a grizzly  kind of man but very nice and very helpful.  Although he was helpful while putting on the fuel filter (forgot to tell you, THAT was the problem... John didn't realize when your truck tells you to replace your fuel filter, you'd better do it NOW!)  sorry, back to the story... While Bryan was putting on the fuel filter, he inadvertently miss thread the filter causing it to leak... it was, of course, the ONLY filter he had and it was 10pm... SOOOOOO off to the hotel we go...  Bryan said he would be back at 10 the next morning but it might be "Dad"... we didn't care, we just wanted it fixed.

We called the hotel, they don't allow pets but another does but they were booked.  We made the decision to keep the cats in the car (it was really cool) and just crack the windows.  I am NOT a fan and wasn't really happy with leaving them in the car but we really had no other choice.  They ended up being fine and the next morning we loaded up and headed back to the the Montana..  Not more than 10 minutes after getting there, Dad arrived and he was on the job!  An hour or so passed and he had it replaced and we were up and running once again!! Praise the Lord!!!  John did still have a check engine light still on but we felt, as did Dad, that it was nothing of concern.   We hit the road and drove on.

John's comment... How I forgot this, I don't know... :)

Just to add - even though the State Trooper told us that the diesel mechanics in Greene County would stick it to us, once we got finished with the filter replacement and I asked, Mike ("Dad") what I owed him, he said, "you're military so you don't owe me a thing". As genuine and heartfelt an offer as that was, it was unacceptable, and we finally settled on an amount that appropriately compensated him for his time and effort (after much argument, and me finally insisting that he take a check). There are great people all over. Sometimes you just don't know where they will pop up in your life. So if you ever find yourself in need of diesel repair on I-81 near Kingsport/Bristol, I highly recommend Looney Truck and Trailer service!



John was fearful of stopping, at least until we had to, to get gas so we skipped lunch and drove.  Passing the same massive back-up of cars that we passed at Christmas... miles and miles of cars... It was a deja-vu kind of day, let me tell you.

We drove a different route to John and Carolyn's .... not sure why because it took us off the highway and onto a two lane road through the mountains.  Normally, this wouldn't be an issue but with a GIANT RV, it was terrifying.  I think I lost 5 years of my life watching John navigate that beast through the twists and turns and 9% downhill grades...  In the rain and fog...

I have never been more happy to arrive at Gran and Odie's than this time...

Jeremy, Tina, Jason and Ginny were all here to meet us as well as all the other children.  We had a great time seeing everyone. Kind of like Christmas in July!!

We are still here at Gran and Odie's hanging out before we depart for Williamsburg VA on Sunday.  Then we'll be logging and blogging about our adventures.  

We love and miss you all,

Carolyn

Home is Tennessee... NOT where the army sends us, I lied!!!!

Well, it is official!! John is a Colonel!!  Yesterday was his promotion and we were so thankful to have so many family members (and friends) there!  So thankful COL Thompson agreed to let him "pin on" a tad early to allow him to be with his Nightstalker family and those that have seen his career through the years, his friends, brothers.  Annabelle and I were scheduled to do the "pinning" of John's new rank but she got a bit of stage fright.. Good thing Carolyn Sr. was there to help!  Addison was a crazy maniac the whole time, running around and yelling/talking/laughing... you name it, she was doing it!  She finally made her way to John while he was speaking and as soon as he picked her up she exclaims "HELP!"  and back down she went.  It was very cute, despite the stress it caused us. 

After the ceremony the family came over to hang out for one last time.  Mom, Dad, Randy, Sharelle, Craven, Caroline, Gran and Odie. We talked, played and got to say goodbye without too many tears.... but a few were shed especially as I watched mom and dad drive away.  Heart, don't break. 

So many lasts...

I must talk about the tears.  I have been crying about this move for months now. I am both very excited and very sad at the same time.  I hear others say they enjoy living apart from their family and that makes me really sad.  I LOVE my family and LOVE living close to them. Truly, I have a very hard time imagining being more than an hour away.. suppose this is going to change in about a week!   I love that my mom is my best friend and that my children truly love seeing them.  As well my brother, sister in law and nephew.  I have wanted to move and see what is out there for years now, back in my 30's, before children... but now my feelings are slightly different.   I still want to see what is out there and I truly am very excited about Rhode Island but I know I will always want to come home to TN or at least NC or AL.... somewhere in the southeast!  Others may say living in RI or even Washington is wonderful and we will love it, I have no doubt but I also have no doubt that my home is here in the southeast... despite the heat and humidity!

Bottom line, I am terrified something is going to happen to one of my parents and I am not going to be an hour away.  Not going to be able get in the car and be there in a matter of minutes.  I suppose it is a control thing? maybe... The way I see it, it is time for me to help take care of my parents as they have taken care of me for so many years, and still do.  Not that they are in need of taking care of but I want to be near, just in case.  

This is primarily the source of my tears.  I love my friends and will miss them as well but not like my family.  I will miss knowing everything about my surroundings BUT, having said that... I do believe this has restricted our adventures... having been here for 40 years I assume I have seen it all... not so for Rhode Island and Washington!   This I am very much looking forward to seeing, really seeing the new locations. 

It is Tuesday, the packers are here as I type... The girls, Gran and Odie left this morning.  All I hear is tape being pulled and torn and the chatter of three fella's in an accent I can only assume a white rapper might use...  interesting to say the least.. the things they talk about..  *Funny.... the main fella's phone just rang and guess what?  Emenem's song "not afraid" is his ringer!!! haha  *  made me laugh, through my tears.

John just came to get "Monty", loaded to the max for our trip and is going to pick up lunch for me and the boys... 

I feel pretty lazy sitting here on the couch while they pack... but they are getting paid and I am not! 

One more sleep here at 1764 then off to a hotel for two nights. 

The cats aren't happy.

I love you all

Stonewall Jackson 1 Oct 1996- 26 June 2010

We have sad news to share today regarding one of our family members, Stonewall Jackson. With a very heavy heart we had to lay him to rest Saturday morning. He was 14 and was failing in health so much so we feared what the two week drive to Rhode Island might do to him, if he survived at all.

As most of you know, Stone and I weren't the best of friends, but he was a good dog... just had some annoying habits... don't we all. I have joked over the years about this day... that I would celebrate and throw a big party but when it came down to it, I cried like a baby... for days. The days leading up, the drive to the vet, and the days after. It was me, the meanie, crying the hardest and feeling the heaviest of hearts.

Annabelle has said it best "Stonewall can play with Jesus now" and that is what he is doing, I am sure. Where there are no thunderstorms!
You can rest now, old boy... You will be missed...

The rental cabin in the Smoky Mts...