Friday, September 30, 2016

9/28 The Foxfire Museum, Rabun Gap, GA

Have you heard of the Foxfire books?  If not, please go onto Amazon or to your local bookstore and get one or two or even more.  To summarize, Foxfire was the name of a newsletter put out by some high school kids in Rabun, Georgia, with the assistance of their new teacher.  The kids were not interested in the usual high school English curriculum and the new teacher was willing to try something new with them. 

So, the kids went off to interview their relatives and neighbors about what life used to be like in that part of northeastern Georgia in the Appalachian Mountains.  The newsletters were eventually compiled into a book which became a best-seller.  The books contain stories about all the things that mountain people made, from buckets and moonshine to guns.  Fascinating history!

50 years later, the non-profit organization that developed has provided millions of dollars of college scholarships for kids in this area and has published dozens of Foxfire books.  Here is a link to their story: http://www.foxfirefund.org/ 

There is also a museum, which I visited today.  The kids also helped move the old buildings which comprise part of that museum.  Here are some photos.  The sunlight falling through the trees produced a dappled appearance which made it hard to take good photos, so this is the best I could do, even with a tiny bit of help from Photoshop. 

Yes, these are definitely the mountains of northeast Georgia!

Getting to this museum was quite a challenge in my big vehicle.  The paved road warned about curves and narrow road, but at least it was paved and had a yellow line down the middle.  However, the museum is down a single-lane gravel road with a mountain on one side and a really steep drop-off on the other.  I have no idea what I was supposed to do if a car came from the opposite direction, but I finally made it and squeezed along the road into a small parking spot.  This is the gift shop and headquarters. 

The next few photos will show the various buildings.  I did not visit all of them because the even narrower road was very steep, even for walking, but I got to see enough to satisfy me.





See how hard it is to see these two houses?







At first, I thought this was a well, but the sign says it is a hog scalding pot, and indeed, it had a large copper pot in the hole with a place to build a fire underneath.




The wagon is interesting, but look at the watering or feed trough made out of a single log!





And I did buy a copy of their 50th Anniversary Edition Foxfire book before I tackled driving back down that scary gravel road!  A kindly family agreed to go ahead of me and block the entrance that was half a mile down to prevent anyone driving up until I got out.  Whew.

Monday, September 26, 2016

9/26 Back on the Road, and so is Tioga George

I am back on the road, headed to Florida, but that is not my big news.  If you are new to full-time RVing, you may not have heard of a man called Tioga George.  (Some people have also called him the Mr. Rogers of stealth camping.)  Briefly, here is his story:
  • He bought an old motorhome in 2003 after recovering from cancer and headed out with no experience at all to live in it full time on an extremely low budget.
  • He learned a lot of things the hard way, but survived and wrote a blog that many of us who travel read and were inspired by, myself included.
  • He spent many years living in Mexico in Miss Tioga, giving funny names to all of his belongings, but making many friends along the way and having both good and bad adventures that he shared.  
  • He returned to the U.S. a few years ago after two Mexican friends were murdered, and then had a heart attack, driving Miss Tioga off the road and ending up in intensive care.  Since then, he has been living in a senior apartment near San Diego, posting only once in a while. 
  • A few days ago, he bought a new trailer, had it towed to a RV resort, and moved in.  He recognizes he is no longer a safe RV driver, so plans to camp in a tent driving his car around.  He will use his trailer as his home base and occasionally have someone tow it to a new location. 
Anyway, George has posted a touching summary of how he got started RVing, and I thought some of you who read my blog might be interested.  http://blog.vagabonders-supreme.net/2016/09/a-blog-post-back-in-time.html 

If you are really interested, you can go into his old blog and start reading from the beginning.  You can also click on "Older Post" at the bottom of his blog and read his more recent postings. Yesterday's post was a great one, also, when he talks about choosing between his old senior apartment and his new trailer.  Enjoy!!

Friday, September 23, 2016

9/23 Only Two More Days to Go!

After spending five weeks in Michigan and Ohio, I am really looking forward to getting back on the road and traveling.  I've enjoyed visiting with my son and his family, especially the grandkids, and also spending some time with old friends, but I have NOT enjoyed all the doctor appointments and tests I had to undergo!!  Very glad they are over with for at least a few months.


I also was very happy to finally get rid of the rest of the furniture I had in storage and to sort through all the bins and boxes.  I got it down to about a dozen boxes that my son agreed to store for me.  Mostly, the only thing I now have stored is family and personal memorabilia.  I also shipped two very heavy boxes to my older son in California and am making my second trip to my niece's home tomorrow to drop off most of my dad's journals and some other things I hope she wants.  She is going to transcribe the journals and I have bought a slide viewer so I can sort through the old family slides.  It is hard to believe how much precious stuff my parents and I accumulated in our lifetimes. And, really, is it still only a tiny part of what we once owned and thought was irreplaceable.


But overall, it is really nice to be rid of the furniture and unneeded "stuff."  It will also nice not to have to pay $90 per month to store it any more.


I have enjoyed traveling for as long as I can remember, even as a child.  I love seeing new places and visiting museums and historical places, but overall, I just like being on the move.  So, two more nights here in Michigan, and then I will be heading south to Florida for the winter.  I've reached the point in my 4+ years on the road that I have favorite places I look forward to visiting, and there are lots of those in Florida. 


And on the way, I will be stopping at Cumberland Gap National Park and Old Federal Campground on Lake Lanier, GA,--one new and one old favorite place!

Monday, September 19, 2016

9/18 Never Too Old

Occasionally, someone posts on a forum about being too old to drive a motorhome and full-time or "most-time."  Once, someone posted that his 70-year-old mother wanted to sell her house and buy a motorhome and asking if he should be let her!


After deleting the first angry response I had prepared, I posted that this was, frankly, none of his business.  (There was more in my final response, although not quite as much as in the original.)


I have met many women (and men) older than 70 in my travels.  In fact, I am guessing that might even be a median age for full-timers.  I have also met several people who are still driving and traveling alone in their 80s.  One memorable woman I met in Zion National Park, told me she was 83 and had driven her 30' Class A from Maine.  She had been on the road for 6 months, but had done a lot of RVing in her 60s and 70s.  She told me she could not afford to keep her home and full-time in her motorhome, so was thinking of selling her home!  Go, Priscilla!!


So, as long as you are fairly healthy, anyone can do this at any age. 


And age does not really limit the size of the vehicle you can drive.  Newcomers often try to start out with a smaller RV because they think they cannot drive a bigger one.  The truth is that if you can drive the front, the rear follows along behind you.  Yes, you have to constantly be checking your mirrors so you do not drive over curbs or swing into vehicles next to you.  (I have the biggest Class C you can buy, so it has a lot of real estate behind the rear wheels.  That means when I turn, the rear end swings about two feet in the opposite direction, which can be a problem in traffic when cars are next to you.)


One of the nicest things about driving a motorhome is that there is no hooking up to a tow vehicle, so it is faster and easier to handle.  You also get to sit up REALLY high, even in a Class C, but more so in a Class A, so you can see over most of the cars and trucks in front of you.   


Anyway, if you want to motorhome, you can do it, as long as you are fairly healthy and mentally competent. Age in itself really does not matter.



Wednesday, September 7, 2016

9/2 Ohio Turnpike Camping

Did you know you could camp on the Ohio Turnpike?  I don't mean near the turnpike.  I mean at one of the several service plazas that have special parking areas for RVs with electrical hookups, potable water access, and dump stations! 

I had noticed one last week as I was driving in from Indiana, so I looked them up on the Internet and found this brochure:  http://www.ohioturnpike.org/docs/default-source/default-document-library/rv_generalinfo2014.pdf 

I ended up having a last-minute doctor appointment yesterday, which meant that I would have difficulty getting to my son's house and driveway before dark.  I did NOT want to back into this tight driveway in the dark, so I decided to drive part-way and stay here at the Vermillion Service Plaza at about Mile 137 eastbound.  There is also supposed to be one on the opposite west bound side. 

Note that my screen capture from Google maps shows eight back-in spots.  Cost is $20 per night and the camping area is a little off to one side but still not too far from the service plaza restaurants.




There was some road noise and also noise from trucks driving past to the truck parking area, but it was not too bad.  The spots were large enough to put out slides and maybe even park a car or truck next to your RV.  I was able to get a satellite signal for TV and use my Verizon hotspot.

This is looking towards the restaurant area.  I was told there also were showers there if you wanted to use them.

One problem is that the pay machine takes only cash and does not give change, so I had to dig into my drawer to find a $20 bill. It gives you a receipt which you are supposed to put in your window. There is also a dump station and a water fill station right next to this pay station.  It was nice to be able to dump my tanks so I did not have to worry about them when staying with my son and his family. 

This shows another RV parking area on the eastbound turnpike not too far from the Indiana border.  These are pull-through sites, so much better for trucks pulling trailers or motorhomes towing cars.

  
These are not exactly scenic or recreational campgrounds, but they are very convenient and a great option in a pinch, such as on a big holiday weekend when everything else is filled up.  There ended up being three other RVs spending the night, so I had a good night's sleep.  I will not hesitate to stay at one of these again.