Thursday, August 24, 2017

Solar Eclipse - August 17-23, 2017

Thursday, August 17th, we were still in Pigeon Forge catching up on laundry in preparation for our next move.
On Friday, the 18th, we pulled out of Pigeon Forge to make a 215 mile trip to Westmoreland, Tennessee.  This area was designated to be a totality viewing spot for the solar eclipse that would occur on the 21st.  We stopped in Cookville, Tn. to have lunch with Lois Howard, a longtime camping friend of ours that lives in that area,  We ate at a Cheddar's restaurant and had a nice visit with Lois.  We had forgotten about crossing into Central time on this jaunt.  Tom had found out about this venue for eclipse watching from something he saw on the internet so we weren't too sure of what we were going to.  Westmoreland is a small little town that has a sizable Expo Center that doesn't appear to have much use these days.  We had to wait on a parking lot until 3 pm when someone finally came, opened gates and showed us our parking spot.  We had water and electric (30amp) and were parked on grass.  Activities and solar viewing was to be at Wild Flower Farms about 8 miles away.
Saturday, August 19th,  we did ride down to the Wild Flowers farm to get our wrist bands and solar viewing glasses but nothing else seemed to be happening.  We drove about the area going to Hendersonville and driving along the Cumberland River and Old Hickory Lake, a pretty area.  We then drove through the town of Gallatin and had lunch.  In the evening we drove to the "Farm" as there was to be entertainment but really there was not much happening so we returned back to our camp site.
Throughout the weekend campers were moving onto the grounds of the Expo Center but I believe the most that were there was 12 units.  It was advertised to have food trucks and entertainment at the "Farm" but we only saw a little hot dog cart for food and the entertainment was nothing to speak of.
Sunday we did go out for dinner but spent most of the day reading and relaxing at the motorhome
Monday, August 21st, the solar eclipse day! We had decided that we would just stay at the Expo grounds rather than go down to the "Farm" for a ride up a hill to view. The eclipse began a little before noon in clear skies.  We would periodically put on our solar glasses and check the progress and ate lunch in between.  As the eclipse moved toward totality the temperature dropped, the sky became dark, and the birds and insects became quiet.  !:27 pm totality occurred when we could remove our glasses for about 2 minutes.  It was really something to see.  I was also amazed at the accurate time schedule available.  Tom had downloaded an App on his phone that announced every happening and when to remove glasses and when to put them back on.   Prior to the eclipse one of the gals from the "farm" came to the Expo Center to collect fees from any body wanting to park on the grounds for the eclipse.  Since she was sitting out in the direct sun Tom took a beach umbrella to her to have for shade.  After the eclipse we walked to the area she had been and found the she and the umbrella were gone.  So we went to the farm to retrieve the umbrella.  Traffic heading north was extremely heavy with people going out of the area to home.
Tuesday, August 22nd. we were on the road by 8:30 am heading south.  We hoped to get below Atlanta, Georgia.  It was a long drive 387 miles to Perry, Ga. with most interstate driving.  Fair Harbor RV park was our home for the night, a very nice campground.
Wednesday, 23rd, we continued our travels south for 293 miles to the motor home storage lot arriving about 2 pm.  We quickly gathered up our clothes and emptied the refrigerator and went home.  A good trip.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Ocean to Mountains, August 4, 2017 Through August 16, 2017

So much time has passed since we started this trip without blogging that I am now just going to recap each day.  Internet connection has been the problem.
Friday, August 4th we left our Fruitland Park storage yard with our 2 youngest grandchildren along.  They had been staying with us for about a month and it was time to get them back home.  Traveling a short 77 miles to Port Orange, Florida we checked in to Rose Bay RV Park.  We planned to stay here for 2 nights in order to go to Daytona Beach with the kids.  Needless to say we had a great time going to the beach.  We gave the kids the choice of a third day of going to the beach with 2 long days of travels or forget the third beach day just get on the road and travel 3 days.  The third beach day won out.  It was wonderful seeing these 2, Parker (8 on 8/12) and Gabi (5) enjoying playing in the waves fearlessly.
On Monday, August 7th, we began our trek north going 403 miles to Florence, South Carolina.  We stayed at Swamp Fox RV park.  It was a long day for all.
Tuesday 8th, we continued our travels to South 40 Resort near Petersburg, Virginia, 269 miles.  This would be our last night of the kids being with us.  We did stop in Skippers, Virginia at a peanut factory where we all sampled a variety of peanuts (salted, spiced, and chocolate coated and other concoctions and nuts).
August 9th, Wednesday, Todd came to the campground after getting off work at 8am to get Parker and Gabi.  We all ate breakfast at a restaurant next to the campground and then said our good-byes as Todd and kids headed home to Stafford, Virginia as we headed off unsure just where we were going.  We did go southwest to Graham, North Carolina located between Durham and Winston-Salem, 221 miles.  We stayed here for 2 nights at Hidden Lake Park.  On Thursday we went to Old Salem, a Moravian community that was settled many years ago.  Interesting old town with people dressed in period costumes talking about past life in this community.
August 11th, Friday, we drove on for 186 miles to Hendersonville, N.C.  Being a weekend we couldn't find a campground in the Boone, N.C.area so we settled for Park Place in the Flat Rock/ Hendersonville area.  This area is the mountainous area of western North Carolina.  Chimney Rock is a state park that we drove to but did not go into the park.  It costs $13.00 per person and there was many steps to climb to get to the top.  There is an elevator which was not working - the price of $15.00 per person had been reduced because of this problem.
Monday, August 14th, another 128 miles and we were in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee at Creekside RV Park where we are staying until Friday 18th.   On Tuesday we drove to Gatlinburg and walked around the stores.  Wednesday (today) we went to Dollywood for the day, had a nice day of enjoying rides (our first ride of the day was on a raft ride which we both got soaked and did not get dried out until afternoon) and seeing shows.  One show featured Dolly Pardon's brother, Randy, as well as a couple nieces and cousins and other non relatives, nice show.
The goal for this trip is to be in an area to see the August 21st solar eclipse.  Somewhere along our way Tom learned of a gathering in Tennessee north of Nashville for seeing this event.  We will be at this gathering Friday through Monday.