Pigeon forge Tennessee May 1-6th, 2019

Our much anticipated trip to pigeon forge Tennessee finally arrived. It was time to hook up little booger to Kong, secure D.D. In his designated spot, and meet the car crew for a Tennessee good time! ( more on the car crew later).We left home at 7 am, at about 60 degrees outside. We made our way to the southern end of Virginia to Wytheville. We grab a bite to eat at Denny’s, and topped the gas off so we didn’t have to stop anymore until we reached pigeon forge. (Diesel was $3.13 a gallon.) Dallas, carol, Becky, and Steve (part of the car crew) pulled in flying j’s just as we were pumping gas. They topped off their tanks, and off we went. James and I arrived at Creekside RV Park about 2:30ish pm. We set up the camper and made plans to meet everyone at Timber wood grill, for din din. The group we were meeting I like to call the car crew.

The car crew

All of them have classic cars and enter them regularly in car shows. The “crew” members are Dallas, carol, John, Betty, Don, Mike, Shirley, Jim, Ulrike, George, Joan, Steve and Becky. We met everyone at Timber wood Grill about 6ish. We ate with Dallas, carol, don, Steve, Becky, Ulrike, Jim, Mike, and Shirley. The dinner was delish, James and I had chicken pot pie and salad. After dinner Dallas, carol, don, mike and Shirley went to the moonshine store. They tasted samples and each of them bought 3 bottles of moonshine. We called it a night at the late hour of 8:30pm. 😁

Thursday was a pretty boring day. (Especially for hubby) We woke to cloudy skies and temps in the 60’s. For the last couple years I have made a hair appointment with Tony at the dazzlers hair salon. Today I had an appointment to get a perm put in my hair, it took about 3 hours. Hubby hung in there with me the entire time.


Nothing much happening after my new doo, just hung out at the campground and watched the rain on and off all evening. Temps did reach about 83 today though.

On Friday we woke to 60 degrees, seems to be a pattern happening here. 2 things on the agenda for today. 1- watch the spring mountain music parade and 2- EAT AT BIG DADDY’S PIZZERIA!! The parade did not start until 6, but we like to get to Big Daddy’s about 3:30, order a large pizza, some salads and wait for the parade to start. The pizza as always was DELICIOUS!! We still had some time to kill, so we went to the arcade and played pinball, and skeetball. I beat James at pinball, plus 1 game of skeetball!! He beat me in 1 game of skeetball. (Everyone gets lucky once in a while 😁). The parade started right on time with Cal Ripken and Paula Deen as the Grand Marshalls. I didn’t even recognize Paula until she had already almost passed by, she had her “incognito” sunglasses on, plus her hair was much longer than usual. Needless to say I guess, I missed a picture of her, but I got Cal! After the parade we went to meet up with Dallas, carol, Mike, Shirley, Don, Steve, and Becky, we talked until nearly 10 pm then we headed back to the campground. The day was nice with temp about 82 degrees.

Sat. 60 degrees in the am only reached about 72 degrees today. Overcast all day and had several rain showers pass through. We stayed at the campground today watching tv because of the weather. Around 5 we met Shirley, mike, Steve, Becky, Dallas, carol, don, Ulrike, and Jim for dinner at the applebarn restaurant. The dinner was good, I had chicken and dumplings, James had fried chicken. We all met back at the valley forge motel and talked until about 10pm. We came back to the camper and about an hour after returning it started raining again. Suppose to rain all night.

Sunday we woke to more rain and about 60 degrees. The plans were to go to Cades cove and checkout the wildlife, but with the weather being so bad we didn’t expect much. We were pleasantly surprised to see 22 turkey, 3 deer, and a bear! We also saw horses, but they are not wild horse. It seemed like there were turkeys in every open field we came to, but we definitely saw a bunch. I was excited to see the bear! He was enjoying himself some grub, below the trees sort of out of the rain. He didn’t seemed to be bothered by all the spectators watching him, but something spooked him because he took off running to the woods and then climbed a tree, and that’s where he stayed. The 3 deer were small, but very cool to see. After our big safari ride we headed back to pigeon forge through Gatlinburg. Chilled by the camper a few hours then headed to Paula Deen’s Restaurant for din din. Dinner was delish! Spare ribs, chicken and dumplings, collard geens, green beans, cream corn, and poppy seed salad. dessert was ooey, gooey butter cake…….so good! The restaurant is located at “the island”. There’s a large water feature right in front of the restaurant. We went out there after dinner, watching the water, listening to music, and people watching. People watching makes for an interesting evening. The car crew called said they were back in town, so we headed over to their motel for gabbing and catching up on the days events. It was a nice evening, talked until about 10 and headed back to the campground. Even though a lot of the Day was overcast and rain it still managed to get to the mid seventies.

Monday another 60 degree start off temp. We decided to eat breakfast at Mel’s Diner. Cool little retro diner, decked out in 50/60’s decor. It usually pretty busy, but luckily today we got a table right away…,no wait! After breakfast we headed off to Cherokee NC. It’s about a 45 minute drive from Gatlinburg due to crossing through the smokey mountain park at 35 miles an hour. BUT, before we get there, we had a little “detour” in our travels. We were heading to Gatlinburg to go through the Smokey’s and we came to a fork in the road. One way to go to Cades cove, the other to Gatlinburg. James turned to Cades Cove. I said, “where are you going?” He said, “Cherokee” I said, “no you should have gone to Gatlinburg.” This conversation went back and forth until I decided it wasn’t getting me anywhere, so I sat there in silence, just waiting. When we got to Cades Cove he just shook his head and said, what was I thinking? Of course, I said, “told ya so!” I didn’t rub it in too long 😁. Needless to say we were about 45 minutes later getting to Cherokee because James took his little detour, but we made it eventually 😁. After getting to Cherokee, James dusted off his ego and we went in a few souvenir shops, bought a coffee mug, a couple rings, then headed back to pigeon forge. The Smokey Mountains were absolutely beautiful, I’m glad it was a nice day for a drive. We got back to pigeon forge and hung around the old mill restaurant until about 6ish. We met Dallas, carol, Steve, and Becky for dinner at the pottery cafe and grill. The food was very good, the company was great. We called it an early evening so we could go back and start getting packed up for the return trip home tomorrow. It was a nice day about 80 degrees.

It was a little chillier at 57 degrees Tuesday when we left at 9:30. We decided to eat at Denny’s on the way out of town, bad choice, the food was not that good. We started home about 10:30. Fortunately, we had an uneventful trip on the way home, and arrived safe and sound about 7:30pm.

Next up Lake Anna!

Wyoming, Friday, September 1, 2017

It’s been a great week!! We were a year in planning this trip, and very excited about it when the time finally arrived. We were NOT disappointed! Wyoming is a beautiful part of the country, and we are already planning a return trip! So many things I know we missed, but we also saw so much. The mountains are huge, wildlife abundant, and the scenery is beautiful. We can’t wait to come back!

Today, was…..getting ready to leave day. Tomorrow (Saturday) we leave for home. It’s a long drive, so we knew we wouldn’t be doing much at all especially driving, so we hung around Cody.

We had no plans to go anywhere except for the Rodeo!! We loved the Rodeo so much Monday night, we decided to go back one last time before we leave. We started packing up during the day, sitting by the camper and just enjoying our last day in Cody.

Whenever we went into Cody we passed by this place called “The Cody Cattle Co.” It said live music, and dinner. We did a little research and decided to give it a whirl. I was once again kind of skeptical of the idea, but you never know until you try, right? We decided to go there for dinner and then go right up the road to the Rodeo.

I don’t know if you want to call it a dinner/theater but that’s what I’m calling it, because it’s dinner and a show! Dinner was based on the Wild West chuckwagon dinner. You know, chicken, beans, corn, biscuits that sort of grub. It was really good! It’s served buffet style and you sit at picnic style tables. It does seem to be on the “low budget” side but it was really nice. The same guys that served us dinner also had the live music at the end of dinner. The food was good, the music was good….glad we tried it, we’d go back again!

The Rodeo did not disappoint!! It was the final night of the Rodeo for the 2017 season. There were people young and old participating in the event. When I mean young, I mean young. The youngest I saw in the arena was 5, and he was helping the Rodeo clowns. The oldest was a rider, and he was 40 years old. I’m calling him old merely because he was competing against some “young bucks” of 20 years old and younger. Even the announcer sometimes called him the “old man” of the night! They all did well, and we got to see many awards handed out because it was the last night. Those young teenage participants girls and boys sure were proud of their belt buckles they had won. I was proud for them, because all of them handled those horses and cattle very well! If you are ever in Cody, and you do nothing else……..go to the Rodeo! It was awesome! You will not be disappointed! I can not wait to go back!

Saturday has us leaving Cody Wyoming. It sure was a fast week, I’m really sorry that it has to end. Until next time…………

Wyoming! Thursday, August 31,2017

We woke this morning early wanting to get an early start into Yellowstone. We fixed breakfast, packed a lunch in anticipation for staying the entire day at the Park.

It was a really full day of driving. We started at the east entrance of Yellowstone, and drove the entire loop, and exited the east entrance. We drove all day stopping at roadside attractions like Yellowstone lake, the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, hot springs, and geysers just to name a few. We saw deer, elk, bison, and some prairie dogs. It was well over an 8 hour day, we were pretty exhausted when we returned back to the campground. Tomorrow………final day in Cody!

Wyoming! Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

Today, we decided to hang around Cody again, since we did so much driving on Tuesday. Today we decided to checkout the Buffalo Bill Dam, hang around Cody and take in the gunfight in town.

The dam was between are campground and the town of Cody. There’s a visitors center at the dam, where you can watch a movie on the building of the dam. I have to say that is one expensive dam. Between the weather and the changing of companies to finish the dam it became very expensive. The visitors center is built right on the dam. I got a little weak in the knees a couple times looking down! It was an interesting visit, learned a little more about the area from the movie.

After we left the dam we headed into Cody for some souvenir shopping, a bite to eat, and to catch the evening entertainment at the Irma restaurant.

We decide to get something to eat again at the Irma restaurant because that is where the nightly gun fight was to take place. We had the buffet and then headed out to our seats for the show. This gunfight was not really anything to “write home about.” It was a very short skit put on in the road, beside the restaurant. They were all dressed in authentic clothing from the time period. They had props for the scenes and it ended with a gunfight. A very short gun fight. I think from the time it started until the end was about 15 minutes total. Again, it was something we had never seen before so it was another one of those ….been there, done that moments.

We got back to the campground early, which was fine because tomorrow we were heading back to Yellowstone to spend the entire day……tomorrow Yellowstone!

Wyoming! Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

It was a fairly cool morning in Cody, but it was suppose to warm up for the rest of the day. It was also calling for some rain in the early afternoon. We were hoping not to get the rain since our plans for the day was to go to Yellowstone National Park and go to Old Faithful.

It was pretty cloudy most of the day, and there was a rain shower that blew through, but the day was definitely not a complete wash!

Yellowstone National Park is a beautiful Park! Everything about it is just beautiful! We have never been this far west before, I am so glad we made this trip. I was just amazed how massive the mountains are.

We made it to our first destination of the day…old faithful! AKA …the ole blow hole! 😁 we had about 20 minutes to kill before the next “BLOW!” James went out to ole blow hole to find a place to sit, and I went into the visitors center to check out some info, and go through the “museum” part of the center. The information center had interactive areas to learn more about the hot springs and Geyser in the Park. I’m not what you call a biologist nerd, so I did a little exploring, but then I got bored so I headed out to find James. While waiting we heard a little biology lesson from a ranger. He answered some questions, and then the BIG MOMENT arrived!!! With a few little spits and spat preparing for the main event……..THERE SHE BLOWS!!! Old faithful was right on time, blowing water into the sky! I’ve always wanted to see old faithful, up close and face to face ever since I was a little girl. After seeing it in person, I was a bit disappointed. I guess I was expecting so much more from the experience, but wasn’t that big of deal to me. I’m glad I did go….check off the bucket list ya know. But if someone were to ask… “how did you like old faithful?” My response would probably be “been there done that.” Anyway……on ward!

I had heard that the old faithful inn was a must see. Luckily it is right there across the field from old faithful itself, so we left ole blow hole and took off to see the inn. Reminds me of a ski lodge on the outside, but wow the inside is definitely something to see! ITS HUGE! We didn’t make it up to the observation deck, but we did go in the restaurant and eat. The food was pretty good, but we thought it was kind of expensive for what you got, but you know you always expect expensive at a tourist attraction. I loved the inside of the Inn though, again glad we got to see it.

We left old faithful late afternoon, so we were going to head back to the campground. We knew we would be late getting back, because the campground was about 30 minutes from Yellowstone entrance, and the entrance was about an hour from old faithful. On the way out of Yellowstone we saw some buffalo!!

Between the entrance to Yellowstone and the campground there is a roadside America attraction. It’s become known as the Smith Mansion. I did get a photo of it, and it looks pretty strange. I won’t go into details about it, but there is info online. Just lookup Smith Mansion in Cody Wyoming and you’ll find the story behind the house.

We got back to the campground somewhere around 7ish. I did a quick change into my bathing suit and hit the hot tub…..awesome! No one was in there when I was in there. It was like having my own private hot tub…..thoroughly enjoyed it!

Tomorrow more The Dam!

Wyoming!! Monday August 28th, 2017

Monday morning we were armed with a plan. We planned on visiting Old Trail Town, The Buffalo Bill Museum, and The Cody Rodeo.

First stop was Old Trail Town. To be honest I wasn’t to sure I was going to like this old western town, but it was actually pretty cool. They have purchased, relocated, and reconstructed actual old buildings and homes from the early western days. Very cool! There is an old school house, homes of butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid, a bar, and even an old barn. It was really cool to see all the collections that were there. It was also the burial ground of Jeremiah Johnson. If we ever get back to Cody again I would definitely go back to Trail Town!

With rain in the forecast we decided to go to the Buffalo Bill Museum for the afternoon. There are several different museums in one. There’s a gun museum, Native American museum, Buffalo Bill museum, and even a art museum. I personally liked the Buffalo Bill Part the most. James like Buffalo Bill part as well as the gun museum. The gun museum was way overwhelming to me. Rooms, and rooms full of all types of guns. The Buffalo Bill museum is a really nice “salute” to Bill Cody. We spent a majority of the afternoon there.

The sky’s cleared and we decided to grab a bite to eat at the famous Irma Hotel and restaurant. The food was pretty good, and the “atmosphere” was fun. It felt like you were sitting in a bar and restaurant in the 1800s. The bar was huge, it filled an entire wall. A very looonng wall.

We had some time to kill before the Cody Rodeo started. We just rode around Cody taking in all the sites.

I can’t say enough about the Rodeo. We had an absolute great time. We had a blast watching all the cowboys and cowgirls. The announcer was hilarious, the Rodeo clowns were fun to watch! They had bull riding, barrel racing, calf roping, just all things Rodeo.

We got back to the campground around 10:30pm, exhausted…….but what a great day!

Our trip to Cody Wyoming, August 23 – September 6, 2017

We have been planning this trip for a year. We had traveled out to South Dakota in the late summer of 2015, and couldn’t wait to return again. Yellowstone National Park was on our radar. I started doing research as soon as we started planning trying to figure out what we wanted to see , and where to stay that would be practical for what we were going to do. After some research we decided on Cody, Wyoming.

September 23, we left late in the evening and traveled to charleston, wva. We stayed overnight at a rest stop, left the next morning and traveled to just outside of St. Louis.  Friday morning we left earlier and drove to Sioux Falls, SD. We stayed at a rest area on the interstate and around midnight a terrible thunderstorm came through the area. Thunder, lightening, and heavy downpour. We didn’t sleep well that night, but we were up fairly early the next day to get started. Saturday we made our way just outside of Gillette Wyoming. We stayed at a truck stop.

Before we got to Gillette though we decided to go through The Badlands National Park near Rapid City South Dakota. We are so glad we did! What a beautiful park it is! The mountains, colors and formations were just amazing. We were lucky enough to see wildlife as well. It was all just beautiful!

After we left The Badlands, we headed towards Wall, South Dakota. When we started up interstate 29 through Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota we kept seeing signs for Wall Drug. Signs like: Get a free glass of water at Wall Drug, kids love Wall Drug, Don’t miss Wall Drug. So of course when we got to Wall we just had to find this famous Drug Store. We did. It is definitely NOT your ordinary drug store. They had a gift shop, a pharmacy (of course), an old fashion ice cream parlor, a cafe, and a photo opportunity area. It was definitely a unique place. We went in and bought lunch, looked around the souvenir shop, and James got an ice cream cone. It was definitely a fun drug store! We left there and stopped in Gillette, Wyoming. Next stop Cody!!

We got to Cody a little later than we wanted, it was about 3:30pm. We checked in at the Yellowstone Valley Inn and RV Park in campsite #2. WOW!! What beautiful views!! The RV park is about 15 minutes from Cody and 30 minutes from Yellowstone National Park.

Next up….the week in Wyoming!

A boy named Lu…….June 29th-July 4th 2017

It was the first part of June, and we were thinking about where and when we would like to go camping.  James was feeling burned out from his job and really wanted a nice quiet weekend somewhere to do absolutely nothing. We knew we didn’t want to go far because we had a major camping trip planned for the end of summer and that was going to require James missing at least 2 weeks worth of work. So he wanted to save his vacation time and money for that trip. After a little deliberation, and discussion we decided to go camping in the Shenandoah National Park. We decided on Lewis Mountain Campground which is about 30 to 40 minutes from where we lived.

Lewis mountain campground is a fairly small campground, located just 8 miles from one of the main park entrances. There is a picnic area,  small store, cabins to rent, public restrooms, and payable showers. There are no hookups in the campsites, and there is a dump station campers can use, but it is 8 miles south at the big meadows campground.  There are 31 sites, we stayed in #9.

Site #9
Lewis mountain store

We decided that we would make it a really long holiday weekend and go in the middle of the week and stay through July 4th.  We wanted to get a good spot, and this campground is on a first come first serve basis, so we went up Wednesday night, found a spot,  paid in advance for a couple days, dropped off some chairs on the site to save our place, and we were set.

I’m glad we decided to go the night before to get our space, because we were running late the next evening after James got home for work, and that put us a lot later getting to the campground than what we wanted. All’s well that ends well as they say. We got to the campground in time enough to get the camper unhitched, jacks down, and all settled in for the evening before it got dark. I hate setting up in the dark!  The campground was nearly full by the time we got there, mostly with tents.  

The next morning it was nice and cool. So nice! A lot of people packing up and leaving, and there were other campers looking around to move to a different campsites. By mid morning the campground had emptied out with just a few people left, scattered out in the campground.  We noticed an older couple (we’ll call her grandma and him poppy) with a little girl had moved from the entrance to back behind our campsite. We were assuming it was due to their other site was right next to the entrance and it was probably too noisy for them there….or so we thought!

James had bought a new generator about a month before this trip and was just busting at the seams to try it out. In Lewis mountain generators can be used but only for certain hours of the day.  They can be used 7am until 10am and in the evenings from 4pm until 7pm. James wanted to try it out with using our air conditioner to see if it would run okay, without any problems.  Those that have never heard or used a generator will want to know they can be loud, and a bit of a nusiance in the noise department. I had never been around one until James bought this one, so I was wondering really how bad could it be, right? He started it for me at home, I didn’t like it at all, thought it was way too loud for my liking. He said the model he got was made for RV’s and said it was actually quieter than regular ones. I said it was still too noisy for me, but I can deal with a little noise if it means sleeping in air conditioning rather than 80 degree temperatures.  So early that morning James said he was going to run the generator to test it out, make some coffee with coffee maker, and charge the cell phones. I told him I didn’t like the idea of it because everyone around us were in tents, and the only camper near us was way back in the corner site.  But, he was determined to try it out so he turned it on.  Sure enough, it was too loud for my liking. We were getting glares from people all around us, especially from poppy and grandma that had moved behind us.  He was not a happy camper. (I can’t say I blame him) anyway James only ran it for an hour, in that time frame the couple had complained to the camp host, wanted to know if we had the right to run it, and the man had walked over to our campsite marker to see how long we would be staying. Each campsite has a wooden stake marker, and when you reserve the site, they give you a “ticket” to put on that stake while you stay. The ticket has where you are from, and the day you are leaving written on it. He was probably really upset then, considering our departure date was nearly a week from then! So he came, looked at the stake, gave James the stink eye and left.  We were both sitting outside enjoying the fantastic weather and the camp host walked up.  She was a really nice lady, we had met her husband the night before when we got there.  She just wanted to welcome us to the campground and that’s when she filled us in on how much the couple hated our generator running.  I explained to her I didn’t like it either, but we also needed to run it because our battery was getting low, so we needed it to charge.  She wasn’t concerned, but was just letting us know. Okay, then. 

The campground was so quiet all day. It had emptied out nearly of everyone. The weather was fantastic, in the 70’s and not a cloud around. Around 3pm people started filling in all around us, looked like it was going to fill up fast.  The older couple had taken a few of their personal items and placed them on 2 empty sites across from us, we thought they were moving again, because of the generator. But, that was not the case. They had reserved 2 more sites for family members. We were sitting watching people putting up tents, walking their dogs and just enjoying the afternoon. Grandma came walking across the campsite to the other sites she had reserved. A young couple was cooking their dinner and she asked them, “are you enjoying the quiet?” They smiled, and said yes.  Then she informed them that her daughters just pulled in with their kids and it wouldn’t be quiet for long. Sure enough two SUV pulled up, and backed in to the reserved sites. 4 adults 2 young children, 1 young teenager and 2 dogs piled out of the vehicles.  And that was the end of the peace and quiet for the entire weekend!

They started unpacking immediately.  Tents, bikes, screened canopies, toys, you name it I think they brought it with them.  The children were really young, the oldest being maybe 4? The other 1, maybe 2 years old and not really talking so not really sure of the age. The little girl that was with poppy and grandma was probably between 3 and 4 too.  

It was like total chaos, loud total chaos. The adults were putting up tents, yelling at the dogs to be quiet, and telling the teenager to watch the kids. Grandma must have made 50 passes over our campsite getting to theirs trying to help get them settled in. The young couple that had been warned that their peace and quiet was coming to an end decided to retreat to their tiny little tent before dark, I can’t say that blamed them. With all the adults busy setting up, the little ones were actually running the teen ragged. She chased them quite a few times down the road, and out of other people’s campsites.  That’s where James and I started learning names.  The little ones would be running over to poppy and grandmas tent behind us, and then they would see us sitting out and then coming running to us. The little boy came running up to me, stopped and just looked at me. I said, “hi, what’s your name?” He just stood there, about that time I heard someone yell, “Luscious!!” I said, “I bet that’s you.”  Sure enough here came grandma, “sorry! Come on Lu. That’s not our campsite.” I said, “that’s okay, he’s fine.” He turned, and ran to poppy.  This similar scenario happened all weekend. The kids ran around everywhere, the parents yelling back and forth all day, and their dogs barking at anything that moved. 

We talked to the camp host and she was telling us that this family came every year on the 4th, and they were always like this. A lot of the other campers were really upset with them. It was like the entire campground was baby sitting their kids. One lady, from down the road came walking up to them with Lu holding his hand. She said, “is this your child?” Poor Lu. Lu came to see us just about everyday we were there, and everyday it was….”come on Lu, that’s not our campsite.” I never did get him to talk!  As long as people don’t play loud music or they get drinking so much they get drunk, we really don’t mind what people do while camping. Unfortunately, a lot of the campers must have gotten really upset with this family, because the camp host had several complaints on them before they left.  It was kind of ironic though, as noisy and chaotic as it was, they never abused quiet time from 10pm-6am. Usually they were completely quiet by 930.

Also, during our stay we met a nice old man, Mr. Pratts. He was staying in the lower campground area with his wife.  He would come walking by our campsite a few evenings and was enjoying our traveling companion D.D. He said he just loved that dog! He rode by one evening and said, I’m going to make you a flower. I said, “you are?” He told me he would be back around in a little while. Sure enough, here he came walking up to our campsite with flower making supplies in hand. He sat down at our table, got out his flower “making kit”, and started talking to us while making me a flower. He told us he was there with his wife, and she was very sick. They thought she had lung cancer. He was a veteran and found out he was pretty active in some protests in Richmond, Va. I asked him if making flowers was a hobby. He said, ” I don’t know if I would call it that, but I started making them a few years ago. You know, just to make people feel good, and I just kept doing it,”  The flower was not fancy, and didn’t take hardly any time to make, but I thought it was sweetest thing for him to do. He sat and talked with us for a little while and then he left.  I think he was feeling a little down about his wife and wanted to talk.  He was a sweet man, I hope his wife is doing okay.  I took the flower and put it on D.D.’s Collar, because Mr. Pratt liked him so much, and I didn’t want to lose it!  

Mr. Pratts
My purple paper flower
D.D. Sporting my new flower!

The weather all weekend was absolutely picture perfect. Sunny skies, no rain. Mild temperatures. Mid 70’s during the day and upper 50’s at night. We couldn’t of planned it better! Even though the campground was packed, and very loud we really did enjoy the trip.  Lu kept us entertained, along with Mr. Pratts, we really can’t complain! Happy 4th!  

Tunnel in Shenandoah National Park
It is the 4th after all!!! Happy 4th people!! 😁🇺🇸

Dolly’s rainy homecoming May 4th-8th, 2017


My hippie hat

While we were in Myrtle Beach in March, our friends told us they were going to be doing a car show in Knoxville, Tn. In May and we should try to come down then if we could.  Of course, Knoxville is just a hop, skip, and a jump (or about 45 minutes in actual time), from our place we call home away from home… Pigeon Forge, Tennessee!  Needless to say when we got home from Myrtle Beach we called and made reservations for the first part of May. Our friends also stay in pigeon forge, and then drive back and forth to the car show.

We left May 3rd, after James got home from work. I had little dumplin’ packed and ready to go whenever he was ready to pull out of the driveway.  We left sometime around 5ish o’clock and had wytheville, va. as our destination for the night.  We were planning on staying at the Walmart that we usually stayed at for the night but those plans got changed.  I was playing around with a new app I had downloaded on my phone called ParkAdvisor.  (I’ll write more details about the app in another blog.)  The app showed the Walmart we stayed at as a “no over night” Walmart. So I called, and the lady said no you were not allowed over night. Which is weird because the last time we stayed there they told us where to park to stay over night. Anyway, we decided we better find another place to park our bed. We called a Cracker Barrel and they said we could overnight there. Yeah!  It was a climb up a steep hill to get to the parking lot and where we had to park was not even close to being level. It was like a 35 degree slope!

Can’t really tell by photo, but we’re on an incline!

Regardless, we settled in for the night, hoping we didn’t slide out of bed during the night!

Thursday, May 4th we got out of bed around 8 or 8:30 am. It was kind of cool in the upper 40’s. We arrived in Pigeon Forge early afternoon. It was still pretty chilly and very cloudy, calling for showers off and on all day.  Luckily, when we pulled in Creekside campground it stopped raining and we got dumplin’ unhooked and all set up before the next shower moved in.

In the meantime, we got a text message from our friends. They wanted to know if we were there and wanted us to meet them for dinner. Sounds like a plan to me! We made a trip to Wally World to pick up a few things.  We headed back to the campground and our friends pulled up in their classic cars, to meet us to go to dinner.   We decided on Cheddars Resturant. Cheddars was very busy, but we only waited about 15 or 20 minutes to eat. We had a good time.  Our friends had to get up early in the morning for the car show, so we called it an early evening, they wanted to get to bed early.  It started raining again when we left the restaurant. It got down in the low 40’s later that night.

Friday, May 5th we had a few things to do, but they were spread out during the day.  We woke up to the temperatures in the low 40’s. Not only was the car show in Knoxville, this was Pigeon Forge’s big weekend too! Dolly is in town!!!!  Dolly Parton that is. Dolly’s homecoming parade was today, and Dolly is always the grand Marshall. The parade wasn’t until 6pm so we had a lot of time to kill.  First thing we did was go to Dazzlers. Dazzlers is a hair salon in pigeon forge that I have gotten my hair cut and colored there a couple times.  The sun had finally come out, but rain was in the forecast for the evening. Was not looking good for Dolly’s parade. We were at Dazzlers until about 2pm.  We had talked to our friends and decided we would meet them at our favorite pizza joint, eat pizza and then go out to the sidewalk and watch the parade.  You really need to have a place picked out early to watch the parade, because the roadway gets crowded fast. The pizza joint we love is Big Daddy’s Pizzeria, right on the main drag of town. Dolly’s parade would be going right by. Since they were calling for rain during the parade, (and they had the parade rain or shine) we decided to park the truck so we could sit in it in case it was raining during the parade. I can’t say enough about Big Daddy’s Pizza it is absolutely delicious. I think my friend loved it too, because he ordered a small pizza and ate the entire thing himself! 😂

Sure enough we finished eating and went out to get ready for the parade and it looked like it was going to downpour any second. The temperature had drop from earlier in the day, it was in the upper 50’s. We had about an hour to kill, so we all decided to go a few doors down from the pizza place to the Moon Pie Store! Yes, that’s right The Moon Pie store!

Inside they had all things moon pie. Moon pie t-shirts, nick knacks, hats, lunch boxes, etc. everything you would expect in a novelty moon pie store.  We didn’t buy anything moon pie but it was a cool store to see. We went out and it was starting to sprinkle, so I headed for the truck to wait on Dolly! Plus, I didn’t want to get soaked.  It was like the parade gods were angry, no sooner than the parade started it started raining. The streets were lined with hundreds of people covered in rain gear, holding umbrellas just waiting on Dolly.

Here comes Dolly!!

The parade started right at 6pm, and Dolly headed the parade under her covered float. Despite all the rain, everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves regardless. Our friends had another early day at the car show on Saturday so we called it a night after the parade.

We didn’t have any plans for Saturday except for dinner with friends around 6ish.  We woke up to……more rain. Ugh! The temperatures were still about the same.  With no plans, still raining, and had plenty of time to kill before dinner, I decided to do a little research online. I found a movie theater right down the street that had the movie “going in style” playing early afternoon.  So we decided to make the 2:45 showing.   IMG_5168 What a great theatre!! Wow!  It was 14 theaters, huge lobby, and the best part fully reclining chairs!


They were great! James reclined back and said, “wow I hope I don’t fall asleep, I might start snoring!” 😂  The movie was good, popcorn was delicious, and the chairs were excellent!! We got out just in time to meet our friends at Grandma’s farmhouse restaurant for dinner. It was buffet, family style.

Meet “The Bib Buddies!” 😂

We had a good time with everyone, as soon as we were getting ready to leave the sun brightened up the sky! The sun finally looked like it was out to stay this time.  One of the couples was going home Sunday Morning, so we said our good byes to them, and then headed back to our other friends hotel room. We chatted for a few hours then called it a night.  Believe it or not but in the higher elevations in the smoky mountains national park they had about 6 inches of snow Saturday night!

Snow in ’em thar hills!

Sunday was another “no plans” day.  We decided to go cruising up to gatlinburg, and some back roads to see how the area is improving since the fires of November 2016. The sun was out, but still kind of cool, but hey at least there was sun! Gatlinburg was busy, a lot busier than I expected this time of year, I guess everyone came to see Dolly too! There is a road in gatlinburg called Campbells lead that had a lot of damage from the fires, we decided to go to the top of it and see how it looks now.  Not much has changed, except the trees, and undergrowth is starting to fill out the area again. The homes are all still gone, and once a mountainside filled with rental cabins is just an empty road leading to the top of the mountain. Very sad.  Campbells lead is one of the steepest, narrowest, curviest roads I have ever been on. I did not enjoy the ride back down. There’s no guard rails, no shoulder on the side of the roads. Just a steep drop off! Of course what did we run into on the way back down this cuvey, steep, narrow road? A DUMP TRUCK!! I freaked out! But we made it down okay.  We did some more cruising, then decided we were going to eat Big Daddy’s pizza again for dinner…..it is just that good!

Monday was suppose to be our going home day, but James decided he wanted to stay another day, especially since the weather was sunny and warmer. We called the office at the campground and booked another night! Today we made a lot of plans with our friends. The weather was fantastic; sunshine and temperatures in the upper 70’s, beautiful! We met for breakfast at applewood farmhouse restaurant.

After breakfast we drove to Cade’s cove to look for wildlife especially bear.

Stopped on the way back from Cade’s cove at Mel’s diner and ate double banana splits for lunch.

Double decker!

Late that evening for dinner we ate at Paula deens restaurant.


His dinner companion
Meeting of the minds

It is another buffet family style restaurant. Very good food! Our friends, and us were both leaving in the morning for home, so we said our good nights, and goodbyes and headed back to the campground.

Tuesday we woke to sunshine and cool temperatures.  It didn’t take too long to get little dumplin’ ready for travel. We did some of the packing up Monday night to make leaving a little smoother.  We headed out about 9ish. We stopped at Mel’s diner for breakfast and then got on the road about 10 o’clock. We both hated leaving, but “duty calls”, as they say. We arrived back home safe and sound in pretty good time.  Until next time…..


To The Beach……March 16th-20th, 2017

IMG_4966Tuesday March 14th I was sleigh riding down my front yard with my grandkids.  Wednesday March 15th we left home with 3 inches of snow on the ground. By Thursday March 16th I was walking barefoot on the sandy beaches of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina! What a week!

I packed up little dumplin’ Wednesday while James was at work.  When he got home, we pulled out of the driveway around 5:30pm heading for Myrtle Beach. Its a little over a 7 hour drive from our house, we decided to go just about 1/2 way there and stop, spend the night at a wally world and plan on getting to the beach by around 1 or 2 pm.  We pulled in Wally world around 9:30ish Wednesday night, at Emporia, Va.  There was already tractor trailers, and other RV travelers parked for the night.  We pulled in among the RV’s and called it a night. It was pretty cold, in the 20’s. bbbbbbrrrrrrrrrr.  Waking up in the morning it wasn’t much better, still in the low 20’s.  We made our way to Cracker Barrel to grab us a bite to eat. We pulled out of  Emporia around 10am.  We drove interstate 95 most all the way to Myrtle Beach, for the most part the roads weren’t too bad, but some areas were terrible. A lot of potholes in the southern end of Virginia into North Carolina.

We pulled in Ocean Lakes Campground around 2pm. Our site was I45. It was not oceanfront, but it was only 1 site back. I could see the ocean from our campsite, Awesome! We have stayed at this campground many times. We really can’t find any negatives about it except it is very crowded, and the nightly rate is a little higher than what we usually like to pay. Again it wasn’t outrageous at $44 a night, but I’m sure there were cheaper ones around the area. But I say, if you are going to go to the beach, you should get the full beach experience and be as close to the sand as possible! The weather really wasn’t cooperating though. It was only in the 40’s by 3pm. We did venture out to the beach for a little while, it was a little chilly so we didn’t stay too long.  We had some friends that were also here for the week.  They had come to the “Run to the Sun” car show that was to take place on the weekend.  The campground was full of old vintage cars, that were detailed “to the tee.”  Our friends sent us a message that they were going to go to dinner at Damon’s Grill and Restaurant at 6 and wanted us to join them.  What a nice restaurant! It was seaside. The view from the dining room was absolutely beautiful. There were palm trees lining the windows with a view of the ocean in the background, very pretty.

Not the easy to see, but ocean in the background

The menu was steaks, ribs,  sea food, burgers, sandwiches, and salads. The salads were delicious and very filling. I could have made my meal just off of that, but I also ordered the ribs and potato. It was all good food. We enjoyed the company, caught up on what everyone has been up too, and then headed back to the camper. It was still pretty chilly around 40 degrees.  It was suppose to be in the 30’s overnight, so we turned the heat on and settled in for the night.


Friday morning James woke up about 6am and got up to check the heat because it was kind of cold in the camper. He turned the heat up and got back in bed. We both got up late, neither one of us had slept well. It was about 10:30 in the morning, and I was fixing some breakfast. We were having potatoes, scrapple, hominy, eggs, and toast. I was putting the potatoes on to fry and the burner went out. James checked the propane tanks and they were both empty. UGH! No breakfast at the camper.  No problem, we have a favorite restaurant we go to for breakfast every time we are here, it is Mammy’s Kitchen.  They have a breakfast buffet that is very good. Scrambled eggs, biscuits, gravy, pancakes, French toast, cinnamon rolls, hash browns, bacon, sausage, watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, peaches just to name a few of the items on the buffet line! The problem is, it’s a seasonal restaurant. During the month of March they are usually only open on weekends, and only until 12 noon. It was 10 minutes to 11. We weren’t dressed, and it takes about 15 minutes to get there from our campground based on moderate traffic. With the car show in town it could take longer. So we got dressed in a hurry, and left the campground going on 11. We pulled in Mammy’s about 20 minutes after 11. SHEW! We made it. The place was busy as always. We didn’t have to wait on a table this time, but they were still very busy. They must not turn people away at 12, because we were finishing up about 12 and they were just seating some people that just got there. After a big breakfast, the next thing on our agenda was get some propane so we have heat! Back to the campground. Now ocean Lakes provides propane gas delivery right to your camper. All you do is go to the main office and set up a time for it to be delivered.  Excellent! I went in the office to get the delivery set up, and the girl told me she could do that but, they couldn’t get to it until tomorrow, they were fully booked today. Back to the drawing board! I asked the girl if she knew where I could get it in town. Her directions were very vague, and not very clear.  I told James I had a general idea, lets go, it cant be that bad, right? We couldn’t find the store the girl directed me to, but I did find a RV dealer and stopped and asked them where to get some. They actually sell it, but they are out. Of course they are….(sigh). They directed me down the street to a U-Haul dealer that sells propane. UREKA! We found propane.  Filled both tanks, and headed back to the camper. In the mean time our friends had sent me a message they were going to an Italian Restaurant for dinner and wanted us to go. So we went back to the camper, hooked up the tanks and decided to spend the rest of the day on the beach since it had warmed up some. It was in the upper 50’s but the wind was really blowing. It made sitting on the beach a bit on the nippy side, but we enjoyed it just the same.

I did take my shoes off and dipped my toes in the ocean. COLD!! BBBRRRRR!! We spent most of the afternoon in the sand. At 5:30 we met our friends at the restaurant and enjoyed dinner and the company. We got back to the campground kind of late, so we called it a night.

Saturday morning we got up and tried the “fix breakfast” thing again. We made it through with no problems today HA! Ocean Lakes has many, many amenities and luckily one of those is a indoor heated pool! I had already decided before we even left home for the beach that I was going to take advantage of that indoor pool. So around noon we headed to the pool.  There were several families there, the parents were sitting around the pool keeping an eye on their kids while they were swimming. I said, the heck with watching I’m getting in! I was in there about an hour, and the pool started to empty out. I thought I was going to have a private pool, and then…..people, lots and lots of people started showing back up. By 1:30 the pool had filled back up and there were lots of kids playing everywhere. I got out and called it a day for swimming. It had been cloudy all day and the sun had finally decided to come out late afternoon. Our friends had invited us to dinner at their house, so we changed clothes and went over for dinner. There was 8 couples invited. We had salad, ham, beans, macaroni and cheese, rolls, pies, cakes, and ice cream. It was all really good.  The biggest topic of the night was about one of the men had sold his vintage car at the car show that morning. It was a 1959 impala convertible.  I won’t say what he sold it for, but I will say he sold it for almost as much as my first house cost. Incredible. It was a nice car, I couldn’t believe he sold it for what he did! crazy! Our friends were leaving early in the morning, so we left dinner kind of early so they could get to bed. IMG_4954

Sunday was suppose to be the best day weather wise since we had arrived on the 16th.  It was sunny, and about 60 degrees. We ate another late breakfast and then decided to spend the day on the beach since it was a nice day.  We spent the whole afternoon in the sand, watching the beach walkers, sea gulls, and seeing how long the sunbathers would last in the chilly air. It wasn’t long at all.  The wind was still brutal though. I spent some of the time collecting seashells for my grandkids, and trying to build a sandman. He didn’t turn out very well.  We left the beach around 3:30, we wanted to go find some place for dinner. We decided on a Mexican Restaurant about 5 miles south of the campground. We went back to the campground after we ate, calling it an early evening because we were leaving in the morning and we were driving straight back home. Since we had a long day of driving we wanted to call it an early night.

Monday morning.  We did the dreaded pack up, unhook, and head home part of our trip. We were not looking forward to heading back home so soon. Monday was suppose to be 70 degrees and the winds had drastically died down. What a bummer we had to leave! Until next time Myrtle beach…………… IMG_4974

Ocean Lakes Campground  img_3328img_3328img_3328img_3328