First Time in Charleston, SC

Charleston has always been on my places to visit bucket list.  Ever since I read the Prince of Tides when I was in my 20’s I have wanted to visit the magical city that Pat Conroy wrote about.  Pat is one of my favorite authors and he writes so beautifully of the southern places of his young adulthood that you feel as if you have been there.  One of my favorite books, South of Broad tells the story of the families who live in the giant mansions south of Broad street (and those who do not).  Because of his books, I have always wanted to see the mansions, the town, and the nearby islands, and finally  I had the opportunity.   I cashed in some Marriott points and got a free hotel room near the college and within walking distance to the historic part of the City.  On Saturday morning Lee and I got up very early and drove the three hours down to Charleston.

Some things in life don’t live up to their press.  Let’s face it… most things do not, but I loved every part of Charleston, and the city absolutely delivered on the promise made to me by Mr. Conroy and his books.  In order to truly experience this city you really need to walk its cobblestone streets, but I will share my experience the best that I can.  For those who have been to San Francisco (another of my favorite cities), it is similar in the mixture of history, water, and beautiful gardens.  For those who have been Boston or Philadelphia you will understand how amazing it can be to put your hand on the brick wall of a structure built in the 1700’s.  I have been to those places, but have never experienced one city that provided history, culture, nature, and style all in one package.  Charleston is “southern old”.  The colony was started in 1670 by a group of settlers with a grant from Charles II and they were largely left to their own devices.  In order to survive they built a wall around their town and used the ocean as their main means of transportation.  The historic part of Charleston exists within the boundaries of those long gone original walls, and a tremendous amount is within that relatively small space.  The buildings are close together, and the alleyways are tight, which gives the city a very European feel.

The city is also home to a very old military college called The Citadel.  Founded in 1842, the Citadel is a truly southern institution and since Pat Conroy was a graduate I just had to visit it first.  It was way too early to check into our hotel when we made it to Charleston so the Citadel was our first stop.  Visitors are welcome and because it was Christmas break the campus was almost completely empty.  We read that every Friday people come to see the weekly military parade of the students, but we enjoyed wandering with no crowds and took some great pictures while we were there.  The gift shop was open and I couldn’t help myself.  I had to buy a copy of the Lords of Discipline  while I was standing on the grounds.  

The Citadel

The Citadel

The Citadel

The Citadel

After the Citadel, we drove downtown and were pleased to see that the weather (slightly rainy) was keeping the crowds away.  As we were driving through we saw the restaurant where my sister said she had the best meal of her life and decided we had to stop and have lunch there.  We parked next door (free parking if you eat at the restaurant) and took a little walk until they opened their doors at 11:30.

"Trolley" bus provide transportation downtown

“Trolley” busses provide free transportation downtown

Tree lined cobblestone walkways..so beautiful

Tree lined cobblestone walkways..so beautiful

 

Really neat fountain that people are allowed to play in

Really neat fountain that people are allowed to play in

I couldn't resist even though it was pretty chilly

I couldn’t resist even though it was pretty chilly

 

 

Apartments facing Waterfront Park

Apartments facing Waterfront Park

I could totally live in one of these apartments facing the park and then the ocean

I could totally live in one of these apartments facing the park and then the ocean

My favorite part of Waterfront Park is the Pineapple Fountain. I have read about this but it was so much better in person. It's very large and people are allowed to play in it.

My favorite part of Waterfront Park is the Pineapple Fountain. I have read about this but it was so much better in person. It’s very large and people are allowed to play in it.

 

 

Magnolias Restaurant in the Historic District

Magnolias Restaurant in the Historic District

It was a very pleasant walk despite the weather and I definitely worked up an appetite for Magnolia’s.  Magnolias is a white table-cloth restaurant and one I normally wouldn’t try, but my sister and her husband know their food and I wanted the experience.  The service was absolutely amazing, I mean truly amazing, and we had a great seat by the window so we could watch the people walk by.  The food was a mixed bag.  Lee’s fish was according to him in the Top 10 fish meals he had ever eaten.  My tomato basil soup was good, raspberry sorbet was terrific, but the fried green tomatoes were only so-so.   In general I prefer diners, and a $58 dollar lunch is a bit steep for me, but I did enjoy the overall experience.   After lunch we walked over to the market which has tons of local vendors selling their wares in a series of long brick building (think Faneuil Hall) and we explored some of the narrow cobblestone alleyways.

Narrow alleyways where only a compact car can drive down

Narrow alleyways where only a very compact car can drive

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next we drove to the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon to take a tour of one of the oldest and most historic buildings in the city.  This building was interesting to me because the Constitution was ratified here.  According to a poster it was one of the three main building used during this time period and by seeing it we had completed the trifecta. (Independence Hall, Fanueil Hall, and the Old Exchange)  Since I am a bit of a history nerd that was pretty exciting to me. We also had a tour of the dungeon area and saw part of the original 1600’s wall which the Exchange was built on and was excavated only 50 years ago.  Seeing a wall that had stood for that long was really amazing and along with the other historical facts made the $9 entrance fee a bargain for me.

 

Model of the original walled city

Model of the original walled city

A model of the original Exchange

A model of the original Exchange

 

The 1600's wall. Four hundred years ago the sea came up to this point but over time has receded and is now two blocks away

The 1600’s wall. Four hundred years ago the sea came up to this point but over time has receded and is now two blocks away

During the revolutionary war the building was occupied by the British but the rebels stored 4,000 kegs of gunpowder in this room and sealed it up so the British never found it

During the revolutionary war the building was occupied by the British but the rebels stored 4,000 kegs of gunpowder in this room and sealed it up so the British never found it

 

After our history lessons it had cleared up enough for us to take a walk along Battery Park which has its own rich history since this is where the cannons were stationed that defended the port.  It is also where the old mansions are and we spent a couple of hours walking the streets and the park.  One of the best moments was when we came across a wedding in the gazebo in the park and got to watch the couple dance to Etta James’s “At Last” as their first song.  It was an amazingly romantic moment and one of my favorites of the weekend.

Beautiful Oak Trees in the Park

Beautiful Oak Trees in the Park

Couple getting married and dancing to Etta James's At Last

Couple getting married and dancing to Etta James’s At Last

 

Memorial to the defenders of Fort Moultrie. I loved the inscription

Memorial to the defenders of Fort Moultrie. I loved the inscription

Where the pirate Bonnet and his men were captured

Where the pirate Bonnet and his men were captured

 

 

Revolutionary War Statue

Revolutionary War Statue

Civil War Statue

Civil War Statue

 

184 181 178 177

Carriage Tour on the main street

Carriage Tour on the main street

His puppy rides with him

His puppy rides with him

 

One of the few decorated for the holidays

One of the few decorated for the holidays

My favorite was The Roper House which has a beautiful view of the sea

My favorite was The Roper House which has a beautiful view of the sea

 

 

 

After walking the sea wall and viewing the houses I was getting a little cold, so we jumped in the car and drove the many side streets, stopping on occasion to get a closer look at one of the houses.  The houses in this area cost between $3M – $8M and they are mostly on tiny lots, but the interior houses have made the most of the space with the most beautiful gardens.  One of the houses was open for a tour, but I was more interested in the gardens which were free to walk.  Absolutely amazing.

 

This house is available to tour

This house is available to tour

Side garden

Side garden

 

 

 

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Loved the three fountains

Loved the three fountains

Really cool stone bird house

Really cool stone bird house

They make so much out of a tiny space

They make so much out of a tiny space

 

 

 

Beautiful vine arch frames the fountain

Beautiful vine arch frames the fountain

Real Gas Lights were everywhere in historic Charleston. Very cool

Gas Lights were everywhere in historic Charleston. Very cool

After walking  the homes we decided to take advantage of the remaining light and visit the Angel Oak tree on Johns Island.  When my sister found out how much I loved trees she recommended it and it was a very very special moment for both of us.  The tree is between 300 – 400 years old and is absolutely massive.  Admission is free but they have a small gift shop and a donation box if you would like to contribute something and I absolutely loved touching the old bark.  Amazing and absolutely worth the trip.

Angel Oak

Angel Oak

Angel Oak

Angel Oak

While making our way to John’s island we kept seeing signs for the Festival of Lights on James Island so we thought we would check it out.  Our friends Deb and Steve had stayed in the campground there and liked it, and since it was so close we thought “why not?”.  What an absolutely wonderful surprise.  For $15 ($10 if you bring a can of food) you can drive through the park and see all of the company sponsored lights and there were over 100 displays.    In addition, the park center has a great stopping place where you can walk a section of lights, shop, roast a marshmallow, or have a cup of hot chocolate. We absolutely loved it.  Almost all of the lights blink and show some kind of motion and they are very creative.  We took many pictures but here are a few to give you the feel of the experience

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Fire Pits. They sold huge marshmallows on a stick for $3...genuis

Fire Pits. They sold huge marsh mellows on a stick for $3…genuis

The Winter Wonderland

The Winter Wonderland

Cool hummingbird hanging from a tree

Cool hummingbird hanging from a tree

 

So cute

So cute

The annual winner the penguin slides down the ice

The annual winner the penguin slides down the ice

 

After the light show we drove back to the hotel and I think we were asleep by 9:30pm.  It was a very long day and we still had a full list left for the following morning.   I really wanted to eat at a french bakery the next morning but unfortunately all they had nearby was a little restaurant called Another Broken Egg. It started out great, totally cute brick building with friendly servers and the breakfasts themselves were reasonably priced.  But when the bill came it was $32 before tip.  Apparently the coffee was $3 a cup and Lee’s orange juice cost $4!!!  With tip that was a $38 dollar breakfast and trust me it was not that good.  One positive thing that came from the meal though was a serious conversation about money and eating out.  We will discuss whether or not to spend $40 on an attraction, but when it comes to food we often do the most expedient and invariably pay for it. So we decided that food for us would hence forward come in two categories: Fuel and an Experience.  We were definitely willing to pay more for an experience but if it was just fuel we would start searching out more reasonably priced alternatives.  With that conversation out-of-the-way we came to Sullivan’s Island.  Sullivan’s Island is only 3.3 miles long and has some of the highest per capita real estate prices in the country.  Since it was early Sunday morning and another chilly day hardly anyone was out and we had a great time driving through the neighborhoods and seeing the beautiful homes.  We also saw Sullivans lighthouse and stumbled across this really great public walkway to the beach.  I love the ocean and this beach was a very nice one.

A cozy little beach cottage lol

A cozy little beach cottage lol

Sullivan's Island beach house

Sullivan’s Island beach house

 

Sullivan's Lighthouse

Sullivan’s Lighthouse

Walkway to Sullivan's Island beach

Walkway to Sullivan’s Island beach

 

The ocean!!

The ocean!!

Great beach at Sullivan's Island

Great beach at Sullivan’s Island

 

After Sullivan’s Island we drove to Patriot’s Point to tour the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier.  For $20 a person (a bargain) we got to explore an aircraft carrier, a submarine, and a destroyer.  The carrier alone had 5 self-guided tours and took us several hours to complete.  The entire day was amazing and I haven’t seen Lee so excited in a long time.  Even though I am not a military buff, I was fascinated by how they fed and clothed so many people at sea.  It is not unlike today’s cruise ships in that respect.  But it is a TON of walking up and down stairs so be prepared for your workout if you go!  I was definitely tired by the time we were done.

USS Yorktown

USS Yorktown

Destroyer

Destroyer

 

Submarine

Submarine

Carrier deck, we were allowed to walk around on it. VERY cool

Carrier deck, we were allowed to walk around on it. VERY cool

 

One of the many planes on the flight deck

One of the many planes on the flight deck

Flight room just like in the movies

Flight room just like in the movies

 

Crew galley

Crew galley

The amount of supplies it takes to make 10,000 chocolate chip cookies. They posted an actual recipe also

The amount of supplies it takes to make 10,000 chocolate chip cookies. They posted an actual recipe also.

Dentist...which I thought was pretty cool

Dentist…which I thought was pretty cool

Optometrist

Optometrist

Crew quarters. The hanging beds would have freaked me out

Crew quarters. The hanging beds would have freaked me out

A shirt folding machine. Lee got pretty excited :)

A shirt folding machine. Lee got pretty excited 🙂

 

Engine Room was really cool

Engine Room was really cool

The brig ...tiny and three to a cell

The brig …tiny and three to a cell

The bridge. Can you tell Lee is having a good time

The bridge. Can you tell Lee is having a good time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patriots Place is an absolute must see in our opinion especially if you have any interest in World War II, the military or have ever played Call of Duty!!  We had a wonderful time, but I was definitely wore out so we started our way back to Rock Hill.  As I said when I started this blog it was one of the best weekends of my life and I would definitely return when we had more time. Bucket list item; CHECK!!

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First Time Decorating the RV for Christmas

I was a person that had an attic full of Christmas stuff.  I love Christmas and when the kids were small the house was so full of Christmas things I had to rotate out my regular decorations each year just to make room for it all.  When we decided to downsize our stuff, I made the conscious decision to give away my Christmas items just like everything else.  The girls had a good time arguing over who got which ornament and several of the items were hotly contested.   All I kept was a small ceramic light up tree I made years ago in a class with my mom and sister, a small nativity scene my Aunt Susie made, and a little light up choir boy I had in my bedroom as a child.  Those items were supposed to come with us and in the spirit of a new simpler life would be all the Christmas decorating I did.  Unfortunately we discovered the Christmas tub was put into storage instead of going into the camper and although Lee offered to have Kyrston ship it, I didn’t want to run the risk of it being broken.  So here we were, with no Christmas decorations.

One thing I knew I did want to do was make edible Christmas decorations for the outside.  A year ago as I was reading Howard and Linda’s blog RV-Dreams I saw that Linda had made outside ornaments her first year on the road and I loved the idea of completely changing things up.  New life …new traditions.  But as I saw pictures of my other friends decorating their rig, I did start to feel a little nostalgic, but it didn’t make sense to buy Christmas stuff and I really didn’t have anything with sentimental attachment.    On my trip to Columbus last week I spent some time with my in-laws and they gave me a gift.  My first “on the road” Christmas ornament.  Well that decided it!!  I needed to go get some cheapie materials for my outdoor tree.  While I was at Dollar General (fantastic place to shop for this kind of stuff btw) I picked up a few small items for the camper.

The coolest Christmas ornament and my $3.50 Christmas tree

The coolest Christmas ornament and my $3.50 Christmas tree

 

 

Some tiny lights for our railing.

Some tiny lights for our railing

Some Christmas stockings for our fire place!!

Some Christmas stockings for our fire-place!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then Lee found some of my Christmas items in a box in the camper…not the tree but the nativity scene and my little choir boy who I promptly put out.  And I felt quite a bit better.  My friend Jo and I were talking and she said a friend of hers said, “When you are experiencing this much change…continuity is important.”  I thought that was very wise and certainly for me having a small amount of Christmas continuity was a really great thing.  The new with the old is part of this lifestyle and it was nice to have a bit of both.

My little choir boy...I have had this as long as I can remember

My little choir boy…I have had this as long as I can remember

Nativity scene made by my Aunt Susie

Nativity scene made by my Aunt Susie

 

 

 

So once the inside was done I started working on my edible Christmas tree ornaments.  Let me say this took a chunk of time this weekend, but it was really fun and it’s the kind of work you can combine with watching TV or listening to music.  I don’t consider myself particularly crafty (although I hope that changes in the future) so all of these items are pretty simple to do.

Pine Cones Rolled in Birdseed

  1. Gather fallen pine cones around the camp site
  2. Make a mixture of 1/3 lard to 2/3 peanut butter (the peanut butter alone is too difficult for the birds digestion)
  3. Roll pine cone in lard mixture
  4. Roll pine cone in bird seed or oatmeal first then bird seed
  5. Tie loop to the top of pine cone with biodegradable twine

 

Had my assembly line going

Had my assembly line going

Roll pine cone in lard/PB misture

Roll pine cone in lard/PB mixture

Roll in birdseed

Roll in birdseed

Tie a loop to top of finished cone

Tie a loop to top of finished cone

Pretty easy...hence the big smile

Pretty easy…hence the big smile

 

Garland

  1. Purchase Cheerio’s , Dried Fruit, and cheese crackers
  2. Cut lengths of biodegradable twine and quadrupled cotton thread.  Tie large knot in the bottom of each length.
  3. For Cheerios only you can thread twine through the holes to make garland
  4. For  fruit and cheese crackers use thread and a needle to pierce the fruit or holes
  5. Get creative!!
Garland

Garland

Strung crackers and strung plums dipped in oatmeal are on left

Strung crackers and strung plums dipped in oatmeal are on left

 

 

Well we had tons of ornaments ready to go but Sunday we were moving to our last and final site here in South Carolina.  We have stayed in 30, 7, and 23 and all have been very nice.  I was happy to get back my water view but unfortunately there were no handy trees to put my ornaments on that would have a good view from my desk window.  So Lee and I went to Goodwill to see what we could find, and for $2.99 found a metal CD rack.  It actually comes apart into two pieces and Lee sawed off the lowest rung so we could plant it into the ground outside the camper.  I also bought some Christmas napkins to put on the bottom in the hopes of stopping the squirrels from completely demolishing it the first night.

Lee with the "Christmas Tree"

Lee with the “Christmas Tree”

Decorating the tree

Decorating the tree

Garland, Pine Cones,

Garland, Pine Cones,

Decorated "tree"

Decorated “tree”

Sprinkling "snow" made of leftovers and oatmeal

Sprinkling “snow” made of leftovers and oatmeal

Our first brave bird checking it out

Our first brave bird checking it out

 

Overall it was more work than I thought but a ton of fun and I love that we got creative on a budget and put something like this together!!

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First Time in Asheville, NC and Pisgah National Forest

Before I jump in and tell you about my week, I wanted to follow-up on an item from a couple of weeks ago; we ended up sending back all of the DISH equipment.  After numerous software downloads and time on the phone with their not-so-hot line, we determined something wasn’t working right and since we had a 30 day warranty with Amazon we just sent it all back.  I have to give AMEX and Amazon huge credit here.  We had our credit in less than 24 hours and I feel much better knowing we didn’t lose $700 for a product that does not do what was advertised.  It was numerous factors but two things were deal breakers for us.  One we could not consistently get the HD channels to come in and secondly I was watching a show in the bedroom and Lee was watching a movie in the living room.  When the movie was done he changed the channel and bam! my show went off.  Apparently if you watch two shows at the same time they have to be on the same satellite signal (which makes sense), BUT there is no way to tell which channel is on what satellite.  When we talked to the “help” desk about it the direct quote was “You’ll figure it out.”  Yeah, that was it for me.  Anyway, we decided to take advantage of AT&T’s current double data promotion, and double our cellular data instead and now have 80 GB.  Because the double data deal is still going on we got 80 GB for the price of 40 GB and we will be watching antenna TV, streaming shows, and using Netflix.  It’s not the perfect solution, but we are both MUCH happier with this use of our money and the bill is still within our total budget for internet/phone/cable.

Alright, so enough of that..now on to the fun stuff.  I traveled to NYC (well actually Secaucus, NJ) (I don’t blame her for not being willing to admit to being in NJ. I’ve been there. No offense to any friends of ours who are from there, or legitimate businessmen who are from there. – Lee) this week and have to say I missed my nature.  The only animal I saw all week was a stray cat and the taxi drivers were routinely displeased by my driving. Work was fine and the people were very nice, but it was a stark contrast to what we have been experiencing in South Carolina.  Next week is Columbus, Ohio but that is my hometown and I get to see family, so that should be a lot more fun. I got home on Friday and was pretty tired and then Saturday it rained all day.  When you only have the weekend to explore, bad weather is not so fun, but Lee was nice enough to drive me around shopping and we picked up our Christmas gifts for Wendy’s kids. For years we’ve been in separate states at Christmas and since we will be together I wanted to buy actual presents this year (instead of money or gift cards).  Buying for the baby was super fun…buying for my 16 year old niece, not so much.  16 year old girls are the worst to buy presents for.  I can say this with authority because I have raised three teenage girls!!!  (It’s true. They hate everything. – Lee) After shopping we stopped by Wendy’s and saw Bailey, Bryce, and Abram then came back to the camper and got caught up on some TV and just relaxed.  I had some serious cabin fever though, mainly because I haven’t seen much of this area so was very excited about the forecasted good weather on Sunday and a trip to Asheville.

Asheville is one of the towns I really wanted to explore in this area and since it’s only about two hours away we decided to take a day trip.  As a bonus we got to stop at a Roadside Attraction that my sister Wendy recommended.  There is a water tower in Gaffney, SC that is painted like a giant peach.  Unfortunately from certain angles it also looks like a giant butt which is hysterical.  When we got there we pulled over and we also got to see a man climbing on the peach butt and working on it.  Ok seriously, insert your own joke here, because they just write themselves. (I’m not sure what that weird little nubbin is hanging from the bottom of the butt, but they should probably get it lanced or something. – Lee) 

Giant peach butt

Giant peach butt

Giant peach butt with worker

Giant peach butt with worker

 

So that was fun!!  The next roadside attraction was a small restaurant called Harry’s Grill and Piggy’s Ice (you can’t make this stuff up)  that has “rescued” advertising statues from other restaurants and has them all outside.  It’s in Hendersonville and is well worth the stop.  I love the silly and this place was chock full of it.  We went on a Sunday (when it was closed) which was actually better because it was easy to take pictures.

 

Harry's Grill and Piggy's Ice Hendersonville, NC

Harry’s Grill and Piggy’s Ice Hendersonville, NC

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The hamburgerlar

Remember Officer Big Mac???

Hooterville Jail

Hooterville Jail

Yogi and BooBoo

Yogi and BooBoo

Big Boy

Big Boy

I think the pink elephants were my favorites

I think the pink elephants were my favorites

 

I think this is Harry

I think this is Harry

Big cow head

Big cow head

They had lots of old signs like this one too

They had lots of old signs like this one too

Lee loved the dinosaur...reminded him of out west

Lee loved the dinosaur…reminded him of out west

They had a board to sign your name

They had a board to sign your name

Another of my favorites a big pig with an apple in his mouth

Another of my favorites a big pig with an apple in his mouth

Me hanging with the tiger

Me hanging with the tiger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the ringmaster

And the ringmaster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So the place was really fun and waaay coooler than we thought it would be.  Plus we needed gas anyways, and it was right off the freeway so just a short detour for tons of fun.  We finally made it to Asheville, but I have to say I was pretty underwhelmed.  It is a hipster kind of place, but coming from the New England area, it looks like tons of small ski villages all throughout Vermont.  There are some neat artsy stores, but the prices are pretty high and really it wasn’t that pretty to walk around.  We did have an excellent lunch though at a noodle place which was VERY good and had outstanding service.  And there was a neat wall right next door where people wrote the things they wanted to do before they died.  The answers ranged from “Be on Ellen” to “Be Heard.”  I put “see Mount Rushmore and Alaska.”

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I wrote see Mt. Rushmore and Alaska

I wrote see Mt. Rushmore and Alaska

Very good noodle house where we ate lunch

Very good noodle house where we ate lunch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We saw another roadside attraction in Asheville, a giant iron.  Usually I am a sucker for really big common things but this was just so-so.  The best part of the whole town really was a London double-decker bus which was converted into a small coffee shop with tables setup on the top of the bus.  It was really really neat and Lee loved it.  Plus his coffee and my hot chocolate were excellent. Absolutely recommend it, but bring cash as they don’t take credit cards.

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Double Decker bus converted into a coffee shop

Double Decker bus converted into a coffee shop

Me in the bottom part of the bus where you order

Me in the bottom part of the bus where you order

Lee eating at a booth in the top part of the bus

Lee eating at a booth in the top part of the bus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After Asheville, we still had plenty of time and Lee wanted to drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The views are absolutely amazing and even though it was probably the least pretty time of year I still found it very compelling.  We took tons of pics, so I’ll just share a few of my favorites to give you a feel for the views, but if you are near here in the summer or fall I definitely wouldn’t miss it.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway

 

Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway

 

The Parkway goes for 469 miles, so we couldn’t drive the whole thing, so we got off after a while and drove through part of Pisgah National Forest.  I was excited because I had also wanted to see the Forest and the route was perfect.  We stopped along the way at a couple of places to see the stream running through and then turned a corner and found the Looking Glass Waterfall.  I absolutely love love waterfalls and this one was one of the best I have ever seen and it is right off the road.  We got some fantastic pictures and I was so grateful we stumbled across this.  Truly what this life is about for us and I feel very blessed by the day we had.

Stream in Pisgah State Park

Stream in Pisgah State Park

Really liked this shot with the stream and old bridge

Really liked this shot with the stream and old bridge

 

Me and Lee in front of Looking Glass Waterfall

Me and Lee in front of Looking Glass Waterfall

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Looking Glass Waterfall

Looking Glass Waterfall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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First Thanksgiving on the Road

We intentionally scheduled our first trip to be near my sister and knew we would get to spend our first on the road Thanksgiving with her family.  She also invited my Dad, his wife Carol, and Jake down to visit as well.  Plus we got to spend tons of time with the new baby Wendy is adopting which was so much fun.  My sister and her husband met in cooking school, and even though she is a nurse and he is a banker now…wow can they cook.  Since I didn’t want to suffer by comparison I made Lee’s favorite deviled eggs (recipe below) and a celery tray. It was fun cooking in the rig and I didn’t have any stress from worrying about the rest of the meal.  It was a little sad, since it was our first Thanksgiving in years without at least one of our daughters, but Wendy’s rowdy bunch more than made up for it and we had tons of great food and fun.

Lee's face after eating one of my deviled eggs

Lee’s face after eating one of my deviled eggs

Lee feeding Abram. He loved the sweet potatoes. Can't show any pics of his face on social media until the adoption is complete

Lee feeding Abram. He loved the sweet potatoes. Can’t show any pics of his face on social media until the adoption is complete

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My sister Wendy and her son Bryce

My niece Bailey hugging her brother..he's thrilled :)

My niece Bailey hugging her brother..he’s thrilled 🙂

My step-mom Carol

My step-mom Carol

Jake towers over the baby :)

Jake towers over the baby 🙂

Lee and my brother-in-law Josh

Lee and my brother-in-law Josh

My nephew Alex is a very energetic 10 year old.

My nephew Alex is a very energetic 10-year-old.

Wendy had it all under control. It was fun not having to be the chef!!

Wendy had it all under control. It was fun not having to be the chef!!

After dinner Wendy, Carol and Bailey all went shopping, but since we just spent months getting rid of all our stuff that was the last thing I wanted (or needed to do) so no Black Friday shopping for me…which was actually awesome.  I didn’t miss the craziness at all.  Friday Dad came over and checked out Lake Wylie with the boys and then we all went to Captain Steve’s, a local fish restaurant.  It was reasonably priced ($30 for two of us) but the food wasn’t that great.  Lee said the catfish at Anna J’s was way better.  The company was good though and we took up a long table in the restaurant.

Dad and Carol

Dad and Carol

I love this picture of Josh as the long -suffering parent with his kids lol. He's a really good dad

I love this picture of Josh as the long suffering parent with his kids lol. He’s a really good dad

Saturday was the Ohio State – Michigan football game and as every person in my family went to Ohio State at some point or another we are all big fans.  I loved being with them for the big game and although there were some tough moments, Ohio State was of course victorious!!

Dad and Bryce

Dad and Bryce

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lee who is not a football fan decided to go to visit a Roadside attraction that is right near Wendy’s house.  I have talked before about this great app I love called Roadside America .  Every where we go I look the area up and I am so glad I did because there is a TARDIS in a person’s backyard right near Wendy’s house.  The Tardis is a London phone booth which acts as the Time Machine for Doctor Who.  Lee, Kay, and Kat all love that show and he was beyond excited someone had one in Rock Hill, SC.  Turns out the folks are huge Dr. Who fans and their TARDIS is actually a chicken coop.  So funny.

 

Lee and the Tardis

Lee and the Tardis

Inside is a chicken coop

Inside is a chicken coop

The back has the exit for the chickens

The back has the exit for the chickens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So Lee had a great time and I got to watch the big game with my family.  We had so much fun and although I did miss the girls, I was so glad we got to spend our first Thanksgiving at Wendy’s house.

I will be traveling for work the next couple of weeks, so not sure how much blogging I will do, but Lee and I will try to get out some on the weekends.  I think Lee is excited about the alone time because he can finally get things organized without me being in the way.  We are staying here through  Alec’s birthday and for Abram’s first Christmas so we will definitely have time to explore.

 Lee’s Favorite Deviled Eggs

I usually make some plain, some with paprika, and some with olives so everyone is happy. Lee is incredibly picky about his deviled eggs and this is the recipe he likes the best.  I always have him taste test one before I start stuffing.  He really is a deviled egg aficionado. 

  • 2 dozen eggs
  • 1/4 tsp onion salt
  • 1/4 tsp celery salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 6 squirts yellow mustard
  • paprika (optional)
  • Green olives (optional)
  1. Boil Eggs
  2. Run cold water over eggs, then place in refrigerator until chilled
  3. Peel eggs
  4. Slice eggs in half longways
  5. Remove yolks and place in bowl
  6. Using a fork break yolks into very small pieces
  7. Add mayonnaise, mustard, garlic, celery, and onion salt
  8. Mix very well with a fork
  9. Using a small spoon place egg mixture into the center of the egg whites
  10. Sprinkle with paprika (if desired)
  11. Cut olives and place a slice (without pimento) on each egg (if desired)
Lee's Favorite Deviled Eggs

Lee’s Favorite Deviled Eggs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Compromises

I promised myself when I started this blog I would be as honest as I possibly could.  (I made no such promise. Caveat emptor. – Lee) I think many people gloss over any detail that even gives the slightest impression that this life is not the best thing ever, but obviously that’s not realistic.  Life is life.  It has ups and downs, good and bad.  That’s part of the fun.  If every day was a perfect day things would get pretty boring pretty quick.  So as much as I can I will try to present the balanced picture.   One of the things about this lifestyle is it involves many compromises.  In our sticks and bricks we had created a life that really suited our day-to-day needs.  Obviously it wasn’t good enough or we would never have made the move, but we were comfortable. (I’m never actually comfortable, the best I can shoot for is minimally uncomfortable. – Lee)  Going out on the road is an exercise in getting out of your comfort zone and it seems every decision we make involves compromise of one sort or another.  Compromise is not bad in and of itself, (yes, it is – Lee.) but you really have to be honest with yourself and each other about what really matters to you.  In this post I am going to talk about some of the compromises we have run into in just the first week.  Please keep in mind most of these things are definitely “first world problems” and taken individually we would probably not even pause, but so many all at the same time is a little unsettling.  Unsettling is good though in my opinion. (Wanna guess what my opinion is? -Lee)  It means we are definitely out of our comfort zone.  So here are some of the compromises we are dealing with.

Internet – In  our seasonal site we had very strong, unlimited internet. (We were using cable internet. Always has been, and always be the fastest and most stable connection to interwebs. – Lee)  Now things are different.  The campsite has WiFi (No, it does not. They claim to have WiFi, but what they have is something really cool and new where you see a WiFi network, you connect to it, and then it disappears. Every. Single. Damn. Time. It’s like Whac-A-Mole, but there’s no little tickets that spit out that you can redeem for cool little prizes. – Lee) (unusual in a State Park) but they are having issues with it and it has been up and down all week.  Luckily we have strong cell signal and have had good luck using our  ATT hot spot.  We decided to stay with ATT (rather than going with Verizon which most full timers do) because we would have had to purchase a new IPhone and Ipad and sign a two-year contract with Verizon.  At this point we really don’t want to get locked into any long-term commitments because we don’t know what life on the road will look like for us.  With  ATT we could keep our original devices and best of all continue month to month.  Plus, we were lucky enough to take advantage of the double data deals in October so we got  40 GB of data a month for around $106.  I know that sounds like a lot of data, but if you want to stream movies and/or do a lot of downloading it adds up quick.  For example, we have only been on the road for one week and with extremely careless data usage we have already used 65% of our monthly allotment.  Now we certainly can throttle back (and will)  but…damn.  The next level up (60 GB) was almost double in price, so we will need to change our internet usage patterns and really keep an eye on what we are doing and when.  Is that a huge deal? Of course not, but when you’ve had unlimited fast internet for $50 a month it’s a bit of an adjustment to have less for more money.

TV – Lee did tons of research and based on what we wanted we purchased $600 in hardware (dish with two channel selector and two boxes) from Wineguard.  Lee went to set it up this week and  after numerous phone calls discovered he was flat-out lied to about the functionality and what we purchased will do.   He was very specific that we wanted to watch one channel and DVR another, and yet discovered that this is only possible if you have a Dish plan associated with a house.  The “on the road” month-to-month plan that was so appealing to us does not allow for this functionality.  He was livid, and frankly I don’t blame him, because being a TV guy he was very very specific when he put this system together.  We could have saved the $600 and spent about $200 instead which is not an insignificant amount of money.  Also, despite spending an additional $10 a month for HD channels it turns out only some of the channels are actually HD (essentially the networks and we are already getting a beautiful HD signal for free with our over the air antenna).   I know, poor baby right, but in my sticks and bricks I called a guy he came out and setup my cable.  (Or, more often, she called a guy, he came out and screwed it up, then I came home and fixed it. – Lee) On the road,  Lee spent the better part of a day just getting it all set up and numerous phone calls to discover it wouldn’t work as expected.  The situation did prompt  a really good conversation about how much we wanted TV to be part of our new life.  I want a life that involves less TV and more hikes and bird watching, but we are also being realistic that we are not completely willing to give up all TV immediately.  So it will require more research and discussion and some compromise (in this case not necessarily a bad thing), (I beg to differ- Lee) but it was a shock since Lee had done so much research in advance of going on the road.  On a positive note I did get to watch both the Patriots game and the Dancing with the Stars finale on local TV (with a beautiful free HD signal) so I was very happy this week!!  (Clearly she does not speak for me on this – Lee) 

Working from Camper –  I worked from the camper all last summer but the last week has been a different experience.  As I mentioned before I am lucky enough to be able to do my job from the road.  We have 140 office locations spread throughout the United States and as long as I have phone, internet, and access to an airport  it shouldn’t matter where I work from.  I like a mixed work week with some days in an office and others from home and that is working well here as the Charlotte office is only a 30 minute drive from our campsite.     The office days give me great interaction with our field staff, and I use home days for getting lots of “quiet time” work done.  So I went into the office on Wednesday to check it out and they were so nice.  They put me in a great office and made me feel right at home.  Over 15 years with my company I have worked with many people, and Lorraine from Charlotte was one of my favorites.  She took great care of me and went out of her way to make me feel welcome. The compromise occurred when I worked from the camper.  My desk area is great and the WiFi connection was strong, but in the past when I worked from the camper Lee was never there.  After a somewhat frustrating first day on his part, we pretty quickly we realized we were going to need to make some adjustments.  We have the Front Living Room model so the TV is up at the front as well as the desk area and because of all the conference calls, Lee couldn’t really do anything at all inside the camper. (And that’s where all the cool stuff is!-Lee) So he was either outside (which was fine) or inside being stuck in 2/3 of the camper and needing to be super quiet.(I’m not so good at being quiet, let alone “super quiet” -Lee) We never thought through what this would look like with two people in the camper and it was different. We will definitely be fine, but it did catch us both by surprise. (What she doesn’t know is that I am planning to move her desk outside. Problem solved. Everyone wins. Well, I win. That’s good enough for me. What’s next? -Lee)

Temperature – The great thing about the rig is it heats up quickly, but it also loses heat quickly as well.  The weather here has been all over the place, ranging from 14 degrees one morning to a high of 78 one afternoon.  Don’t get me wrong, I am loving the weather, but we have struggled a bit with regulating the temperature.  It was important to us that we find a way to manage the temp using only electric power because propane costs additional money and we would like to save that for the really chilly nights.  I also made a mistake during one of our early moves and left the space heater in the bedroom sticking out too far from the wall and crushed the top of it with the slide out.  Not good, but Lee was very sweet about it.    He found a Hunter 24″ heater with temperature settings and a remote control for $50 at Home Depot which wasn’t awful, and we also bought a small heater for the kitchen area. The nicer unit with the specific temperature setting is really important for the bedroom or it can get really hot at night.  The kitchen one we just turn on and off as needed.  We use the electric fireplace (which has temperature control) for the front room, so now we have all rooms covered with electric heat.  I hear there are campgrounds where they really crack down on electric heaters, but so far we have not experienced that and want to use electric heat as much as possible.  The only downside is you really need to watch what you run at the same time or you will overload your circuits and pop a breaker.  For example, we can’t run all three heaters and the coffee maker or microwave at the same time, but really that hasn’t been a big deal. I guess it gets trickier when on 30 amp.  I also have heard that blow dryers will easily  overload circuits but since my hair is so short that’s never an issue for us!!  Again, not a big deal but unlike a sticks and bricks you can’t just flip everything on at the same time, you have to think it through a little.

Smoking – We are smokers and yes I know we should quit,  but seriously I can only handle so much change at one time.  We don’t smoke in the camper at all (that was a hard rule I had before we bought it) and when we looked at our initial budgets we saw pretty quickly that cigarettes was a huge line item.  Lee went into action and starting rolling our own.  A carton of premade cigarettes in NH costs around $65, and he can make a carton and a half for about $37. Plus, the bagged cigarette tobacco has less additives than the premade cigarettes.  So here we come to the Carolinas, the home of Phillip Morris for heaven’s sake, and we can’t find bagged cigarette tobacco anywhere.  We looked in two states and called or went to many, many stores.  You also cannot purchase it online because of the local state rules so finally we decided we would have to settle for pipe tobacco which is much cheaper than the cigarette cut but much harder to roll.  Will we muddle through?  Of course, but it’s one more example of something simple that becomes not simple overnight and is taking quite a bit of our time and energy. (Here’s an update on that, I finally found a place that sells what we were looking for, and will order as many bags as I want, so that problem is solved, at least for now. We’ll be travelling with a somewhat ridiculous amount of bagged tobacco when we go from here to Florida, but I’m sure we’ll find a source for it again when we get there.-Lee)

Security – One last thing I want to mention that we never thought much about was the security of our stuff.  When living on our seasonal site, it was mostly a non-issue as we had plenty of neighbors who kept an eye on things.  But after our friend Deb had her kayak stolen (from a well run state campground) and another friend Jo had her outside rug stolen from her truck bed at rest stop I started to think more about theft.  (Who the hell steals a USED outdoor rug from the back of a pickup truck at a rest stop???? People suck. -Lee) Although I absolutely love the State campground we are in there is quite a bit of day traffic unrelated to the campground. It’s on a lake, and there are people bringing in and out boats all day. After talking to Deb I decided the best thing was to keep the bikes locked up and not leave anything out that might present a good target.  So instead of putting out our $60 gravity chairs, we have the cheaper models out all the time.  Also,  I really want to take an overnight weekend to Charleston at some point, but I am not sure how I would feel about leaving the camper unattended. There is a mix here of very expensive RV’s and some people living in pop up campers and even tents.  (Not that the type of camper or lack of one in any way reflects on the type of person camping, but these are definitely sketchy people. One in particular started right away with “can I bum some cigarettes from you” and “can I get a ride to the store, my car isn’t running” and that sort of thing. Ick. – Lee) I don’t feel unsafe physically, but I don’t think I would want to leave my stuff lying around.   So for the time being, I will have to play this by ear.  The ranger said the campground really clears out after Thanksgiving weekend and I will see if we feel more or less safe with less people.

So,  those are a few of the compromises we have been working through over the last 10 days.  None are major and the benefits by far outweigh the irritations, but it definitely is part of the story.  I want to end on a positive note though so I am going to share some bird pictures I took this week.  I have wanted to have the time (and a nice enough camera) to start taking bird pictures for years.  I finally was able to start that so here are some pics.   Eventually I will be adding a new page with the birds I have identified so I can keep track of what I have seen.  I am also using a great website called  What Bird.com to help me identify the birds, but I am super new at this so if I get one wrong I would really appreciate a correction note from anyone so I can change it.

 

Chickadee

                           Chickadee Rock Hill, SC                                       (picture taken by Lee)

Yellow finch

Pine Warbler  Rock Hill, SC             (picture taken by Lee)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cardinal Rock Hill, SC

Cardinal Rock Hill, SC

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hanging with Deb and Steve

The very next day after we landed in Rock Hill, Steve and Deb came to visit!!  They had rerouted themselves to spend time with us, which was so sweet, and a wonderful way to start our adventure.  We made chili for them and once they got situated we went over and spent some time eating and getting caught up.  Steve works from his rig and we spent some time talking about how he makes that work for both of them.  It was a great conversation and it’s interesting to talk about the similarities and differences between what we are experiencing.

I promised some pictures of Ebenezer State Park in my last blog so here we are.   Our “back yard” looks out on the water and it is a very short walk down to the water’s edge. They have sites that can be reserved for two weeks as well as “drop in” sites that are day to day.  The campground is broken into two sections; a wooded area and an open area with lake views and the rangers are very nice. The price is right at $28 a day for full hookups, including city water, and fantastic water pressure.  They have free wifi which is on the weak side but we had no trouble getting cell signal here.

I was dying to try out my new camera a Canon Rebel T5 so I walked down to the water and took some pictures.  My one big splurge before going on the road was this camera.  I have been using a point and shoot for many years, but I couldn’t stand the thought of missing out on a great shot because I didn’t have the right lens.  It was pretty darn intimidating at first, but Lee hooked me up and set the settings at a simple point and shoot mode.  I will get more fancy later, but for right now I loved  how simple it was to use.  Plus I felt like a professional with my fancy camera and strap!!

Campsite in Ebenezer State Park

Campsite in Ebenezer State Park

 

 

Our Camper :)

Our Camper. (Comes complete with handsome and witty man.-Lee)

 

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View from our back window

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ebenezer State Park

Lake Wylie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ebenezer State Park

Ebenezer State Park beach area

 

Lakw Wylie

Lake Wylie has beautiful houses across the shore

Lake Wylie

Lake Wylie has many small islands you can land a boat on

The next night Steve and Deb cooked.  They made chicken breasts wrapped with bacon, new potatoes, and salad, and it was amazing.  Here’s the thing about swapping meals…what’s normal to the people cooking is super good to the invitees.  We all tend to make the same meals over and over so it’s a great opportunity to eat something new and get some fresh ideas.   Deb’s potatoes in particular were awesome.  She medium boiled them in salt water to fork tender then drained them and added butter and a sprinkle of parsley.  So good.  The skins were super soft and it was easy.  I added the recipe below

Oh, and the funniest thing happened.  We have two pretty brazen squirrels hanging out at our site (Rocky and Adrian).  Lee put some birdseed on the ground and now they are our best friends.  Well Rocky did the craziest thing.  He jumped on our chair and then climbed up on the metal hand rail next to our door.  Then he sat there and swiped at the door with his paws as if he was trying to get in.  Crazy.  Couldn’t get a pic when he was on the rail, but he stayed there for a really long time before he jumped down and wandered away.  Never seen anything like that.

Rocky

Rocky  (picture taken by Lee)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next night I made my Grandma Betty’s Meatloaf.  She passed not that long ago and throughout this process I really have felt she was watching out for me, so it was nice to make her signature dish and get to share it with our friends.  Steve and Debbie really liked it (I gave Steve the leftovers for a meatloaf sandwich the next day)  and I have posted the recipe below.   Then we played Cards against Humanity and Steve crushed it even though they have never played before.  I do want to warn you: the game is definitely for adults and can stray into the raunchy.  (That’s not true at all. It starts in the raunchy and quickly devolves into the downright offensive. I love it. – Lee) Luckily they definitely got it and there was a ton of laughter.   Who knew Deb had such a wicked sense of humor 🙂  Deb also showed us how she routes them.  She is the planning master and is an expert at finding campgrounds and routes.  She uses a website called Road Tripper (they also have an app) and Lee really liked it.

The next morning we went to this little hole in the wall breakfast place my sister recommended called Anna J’s.  I love the mom and pop places and luckily it’s what our new budget can afford.  I got silver dollar pancakes, bacon, and coffee for $5.  Can’t beat that.  Deb got the catfish and eggs because she had never seen it before.  I love her adventurous spirit.  The catfish was unbelievably good and the portion was so large we all had a piece.

Look at this piece of catfish...unbelievable and I think her breakfast was $6

Look at this piece of catfish…unbelievable and I think her breakfast was $6

Steve and Deb at Anna J's

Steve and Deb at Anna J’s…they are so cute

 

So what do you do after going to a diner for breakfast in South Carolina?  Well, you go to a gun range of course!!  Let me start by saying I am a huge fan of all of our amendments including the right to bear arms so I have no problem with gun ownership at all.  We never had guns (although Lee grew up with them) because of the kids, and for us personally the potential risk was not worth it.  However now that it is just the two of us we have been rethinking that strategy and since Steve and Deb have a gun in their rig we decided to go to a range and shoot it.  If you are a gun owner, I think it is incredibly important that both members of the couple are comfortable enough shooting it to use it in a dangerous situation.  That means being able to load, cock, and fire the weapon with some level of certainty.  In order to make that work for me (who has very limited experience) it would be important to find a handgun that I felt I could grow comfortable with over time.  Steve’s was not too bad but had a bit of a kick for me, so I rented (for $7) a Smith & Wesson 9MM.  I liked shooting it and found it reasonably easy to cock and load, but I am not ready to “pull the trigger” and buy one.  Sorry couldn’t help myself 🙂  It was fun though and only cost $18 for Deb and Steve who had their own gun and bullets and $57 for Lee and I who rented one and bought 100 rounds. Kind of pricey for an hour’s entertainment but it’s also research so I didn’t feel too bad about it.  Plus of course we got some great pictures and had a really good time.  Although Deb has been shooting since age four, she has never been to a gun range so it was a new experience for her.

Shot him right in the junk. I was not messing around :)

Shot him right in the junk. I was not messing around 🙂

Deb is one heck of a shot. She's been shooting since she was 4 years old. Don't mess with her.

Deb is one heck of a shot. She’s been shooting since she was 4 years old. Don’t mess with her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steve's a goofball

Steve’s a goofball.  He was simulating a man coming at me to get me in the shooting mood. It worked!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me and Deb. Do you believe she's older than me?? What I wouldn't give for that Italian heritage

Me and Deb.

 

Lee was into it

Lee was into it

 

 

 

 

 

 

We went over to see my sister briefly after the gun range.  Needed to pick up our new heated fresh water hose. (Even though the daytime weather is quite nice, sometimes the nights can get down below freezing, and there’s no protection from the cold for the fresh water hose that goes from the campground’s water supply hydrant to the camper. It’s a pain to go out and turn it off every night, and then drain it, so it doesn’t freeze up. This hose has a built in heating element that runs the length of the hose, and a thermostat, and keeps the water above freezing, down to well below zero. One of the nicest features is that it is female on both ends, so you can use it whether the power source that you are plugging in to is at the supply end, or the demand end. It comes with a male-male adaptor to use that feature. – Lee) It’s nice to be able to send things to my sister while we are here and we are taking full advantage to get our last minute items from Amazon.  Then we took some relax time in the afternoon and just hung out in the beautiful sun. The weather has been beautiful all week…clear blue skies and temperatures in the mid 60’s.  As I watched my friends in Buffalo and other parts east deal with nasty weather, I felt so very grateful to be in a place where I could walk outside with just a light jacket.  One thing we hadn’t done yet was have a campfire, so we took advantage of our last night with Steve and Deb and made one.  It was great, and just what we needed to take off the night chill and the first campfire of our new life together.  So glad we had friends there to share it with us.

Our first fire of our new life. It was a good one

Our first fire of our new life. It was a good one

Deb and Steve bringing us Stew and biscuits...yummy

Deb and Steve bringing us stew and biscuits…yummy

Deb made stew and biscuits and we sat around the fire and talked until pretty late.  Even though we are going through similar things today, we took advantage of the time to learn a little about each others pasts and since Deb has 4 kids and I have 3 shared our childbirth stories…hey, it’s what parents do.  (No pictures, because….ewwww. – Lee) The best story of the night though goes to Debbie when she told us how Steve passed out in their Lamaze class.   He says it was the heat, but they were playing the C-section video at the time so you be the judge!!!  Steve is a big guy, and he passed out cold in the hallway and they had to carry him into one of the doctors’ offices and use smelling salts to revive him.  The picture of that is still making me smile and it was so nice to get to know each other better.

We had a great time this week and feel really blessed that Deb and Steve changed their travel plans to meet up with us.  They are headed to Charleston, Savannah, and all parts of Forida, but we hope to meet up with them again before they head out west.  I know I keep saying it but it bears repeating…you meet the nicest people in this lifestyle and we are truly grateful for it.

Recipes

Tracy’s Chili

  • 3 packages of chili seasoning (I like McCormick but any brand will do)
  • 3 lbs hamburger
  • 1 – (15 oz) can dark red kidney beans (drained)
  • 2 – (15 oz) cans dark red kidney beans (drained)
  • 3 –  (14oz) cans petite diced tomatoes (no flavoring and do not drain)
  1. Brown hamburger
  2. Add tomatoes, kidney beans, and seasoning packets to large pot
  3. Add cooked and drained hamburger
  4. Cook over medium heat until comes to a light boil
  5. Simmer (stir frequently so it does not burn)
  6. Let sit several hours on no heat or overnight
  7. Eat one or two meals then freeze the rest

 

Deb’s Tiny Potatoes

  • Small bag of white or red new potatoes
  • 1 stick of Butter
  • Parsley
  • Salt
  1. Boil potatoes in salt water until fork tender
  2. Drain
  3. Add 1/2 to 1 stick of butter (use generously)
  4. Season with parsley
  5. Serve

Grandma Betty’s Meatloaf

  • 2 pounds hamburger
  • 1 package Lipton’s onion soup mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup crumbled Saltine Crackers
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Glass or metal baking dish
  1. Place hamburger in a large mixing bowl and add soup mix, crackers, milk, and egg
  2. In a separate small bowl mix ketchup and BBQ sauce
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  4. Mix hamburger and ingredients VERY well using your hands (yes it’s messy but it’s the best way!!)
  5. Shape meatloaf into a loaf in a baking pan (I try to not make it too thick or the middle does not get done)
  6. Cover top and sides of meatloaf with sauce mixture (saving 1/2 for second basting)
  7. Cover pan with aluminum foil
  8. Cook 1/2 hour at 350 degrees then remove from oven
  9. Drain grease, baste with remaining sauce, cover with foil, place in oven
  10. Cook an additional 1/2 hour
  11. Remove from oven and check the middle to make sure it’s down
  12. Place in oven for an additional 10 minutes uncovered to lightly brown the sauce on top
  13. Serve

Y001

 

 

 

 

 

 

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