Saturday, September 26, 2009

Leaving Knoxville...Finally!

We are back on the road again....All the issues with the accident were completed yesterday (Friday) and we headed out from our home of 10 days, Buddy Gregg's Motorhomes. We are heading to Paducah, Kentucky to visit with Peg's brother and sister-in-law, Ray and Jean.

As par for the course, it is a rainy and miserable day but we are happy to be traveling again.

As you can see by the photo, Scott and the guys at the Buddy Gregg body shop did an excellent job of repairing the damage the bridge caused to our driver side basement doors. I say the bridge caused because, gee, it wasn't MY fault they put a bridge there!!!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Fun Begins at Buddy Gregg's Shop

The trip from Hendersonville to Knoxville over the mountains was uneventful (it's about time). We got there at 4:45pm and Scott, the Body Shop Manager, called my name and greeted me from across the fence line between when we had parked and where the body shop was. He had remembered me from work he had done for us when we first bought this coach here. I was glad to see a familiar face.

The service writer come over and looked at the situation after Peg sought him out. He made notes of the dama
ge and then went back to get us in the "cue" for the next day. We originally had thought about coming here tomorrow, Thursday, but we are glad we made the trip on Wednesday so we would be ready for the morning.

When Thursday morning rolled around, Scott and his crew were busy getting the damaged doors and panels off the coach and then using a plastic wrap, waterproofed the basement since it had been raining since we left Hendersonville. They have a company that makes the "skins" locally. Skins are the outer aluminum door coverings that you see painted on a motorhome. The frames for the doors need to be made and the water heater surround had to be ordered along with the door. Our representative from Progressive Insurance also called and wanted to tell us he would stop by at some point today.

Our friend Roy and dog Snert drove down from Virginia to spend the day with us. It was nice seeing both of them again. We had a lot of good conversation, went to lunch and finally Peg made dinner for us all before Roy and Snert headed home. It was a long day, but it was nice to visit with a good RVing friend.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hendersonville, NC and the Bridge from Hell

As the title states, we encountered a concrete bridge on a back road just outside of Hendersonville, NC. Let me explain further as you look at our basement door pictures....

Our wonderful GPS took us on another joy ride as we approached Hendersonville. Peg had checked the routing on the GPS the morning we left and it was showing the correct directions to get to the Elks Lodge in
Hendersonville. When we exited off the main highway there, the GPS told us to take a right onto Upward Road. Peg thought that odd since she was expecting a left turn. We followed the GPS anyway and it lead us out into the countryside onto some small, narrow and curvy roads. I started into my panic mode when we began going down into a small valley away from town.

I saw a man pull out of his driveway and I stopped and asked how to get back to town without having to unhook the car, if possible. He said he was going into town and would lead us there through some back roads. So...Down we went into this valley along these small roads. I was really not happy when I saw a sign stating that there were no more truck turnarounds after this point. Onward we pushed following our leader. At the bottom of the windy road appeared a one lane bridge with a left hand curve going into it. I noticed the bridge was rated at 15 tons and we weighed about 18.5 tons! NOT good. I also knew I could not get a good enough angle to tackle the bridge straight on, but there was no way to back up and no where left to go. The gentleman leading us stopped just after the bridge, apparently realizing where he had lead us. He waited and watched.

I made the turn as wide as I could and made haste across the bridge. We were about half way across the bridge when we heard a disturbing noise. At the time, Peg thought the bridge was collapsing and we were headed into the canyon below. I knew it was the cement attacking my basement doors since I could not get a straight enough angle to clear the sides of the span. When I looked back in the mirror, I saw the fender well pointing out away from the coach and I just caught a glimpse of our towed vehicle barely missing the same abutment. As I have said a few times before, I was NOT a happy camper!

The guy leading us continued on and I felt I could not stop or I would again be lost, so I followed. Several up and downs, curves and turns later, we made it back to town. The GPS now changed its mind again and it looked like its brain fart had cleared up and was now leading us correctly to the Elks Lodge.

Oh, one other note. This Elks Lodge is in the middle of town off a very narrow main road to a very narrow secondary road. I could barely make the turn onto the secondary road and then into their parking lot. I believe my stress level had reached an all time peak today!

I got out and accessed the damage. It was raining fairly hard (of course it was) and I got out some screws to fasten the fiberglass wheel well back to the frame. I could do nothing about the basement doors, but I did secure the water heater panel so it would not fall off.

Peg made a call to Buddy Gregg's RV in Knoxville, TN (I was too irritated) to tell them we needed their body shop for repairs and they said to bring it in and they will get right on it. That would be tomorrow. Today we parked the coach and took the car to our friends house in Tryon, NC. They had called wondering where we were since we had made plans to have dinner with them. Don and Gloria now understood why we were late! Can anyone say "Libation"......

WillowTree RV Resort - Longs, SC

Moving on from the Shallotte KOA we decided to take a short journey (about 40 miles) to the 5 star WillowTree RV Resort. It is one of four campgrounds in the country to get a perfect 10/10/10 rating in the Trailer Life Camping book. It is a really well maintained and spacious campground with paved sites and a concrete pad with picnic table. We had site #9 right along side their lake. The lake is used for boating (with their boat rentals), fishing and swimming. To see more info about this wonderful campground near Myrtle Beach, check out our American RVer webisode #38.

The weather had turned just cool enough at night for the lake to take on its own mystic qualities in the morning. I watched the lake in anticipation of a Lochness like monster rearing its ugly head through the mist. Alas, the only thing I saw was an occasional Egret swooping close to the still water.

We enjoyed being here for five nights away from the house in Shallotte and the workkamping we had been doing for many months. This also gave us an opportunity to see if we had forgotten anything vital to our survival in the motorhome for our trip west!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Near Our Home at the Shallotte KOA-April-Sept '09

First, I must apologize that I have been very bad on keeping up with our blog. I still have some previous entries to get in, but I wanted to start out at a more current time since we are beginning our trip back to the west coast from the coast of North Carolina. I am going to try and condense five and a half months into this one entry! All this time was spent at the Shallotte KOA near Sunset Beach, NC. We workkamped there from April 1st until the end of the season, Sept 10th.

I would like to say our stay i
n the South Brunswick Islands was a totally pleasant experience, but that would really be stretching the truth! We came back to this area to try and sell or lease our home that has been on the market, on and off, for over 3 years now. I have put it on every website I can think of and even created one specifically for the house to try and sell it. It is on several European websites in as many as eight different languages. We had a woman come down from Virginia who used to work for Marriott and also had a B & B before. She was interested in a lease/purchase of the house since she really liked it and was happy it was on the water with a pier. To make an extremely long story short, about five days before she was to sign the paperwork, her mother in Canada had a stroke and three weeks or so later, she died. The lady was in Toronto attending to her mother's affairs but kept telling us she was still interested in the house (via e-mail). About a week before we left the area, a few e-mails I sent to her bounced back and communication was cut off by her. Peg and I were very disappointed, to say the least.

So our goal of selling the house while there in the area did not materialize. We left the house sale in the hands of a realtor we knew with the hopes that she can move it soon, as we authorized aggressive price reductions every 10 days or so....We will see what happens. If you know of anyone looking for a great price on a beautiful house on the water, call us. You can see the house at our house website.

Enough of that situation...We did get to see many of our friends and my sister in the mont
hs we were in the Shallotte, NC area. Let me try to recall some of the places we went and people we saw...

We had visits from two RVing couples that came to the KOA to visit with us. The first couple was Dave and Marie. Dave is not a KOA fan so we do appreciate both of them seeking us out. We met Dave and Marie when we were at Buddy Gregg's for some minor repairs just a few months after we purchased our coach. The week or so we spent there created some really good friends we still keep in touch with!

Shortly after Dave and Marie's visit to the campground, Another couple we met this past year in Quartzsite, Arizona came by on their way down the coast. Retha and Les drove their 42' Monaco Camelot to the KOA and it was really nice to see them. We had a great visit and re-lived some of the interesting time we spent in the desert. When we get visits from friends, it is tough to say goodbye, but we hope we will meet up again at another place and another time.

We were also visited from our good friends from Glens Falls, NY (where we used to live), Don and Barb. They have a fifth wheel and decided to get their grand kids and make the trip south. They were taking their passengers on an "educational" journey which means they visited battlefields, the Battleship North Carolina and other historic sights. The kids had a really good time and learned something about our country and history in the process. We all had fun too. Putt putt golf can be challenging! I'm glad Don and Barb could get away and come down for a visit.

Our friends Bill and Jack (short for Jacqueline), who live in Sunset Beach, came over to the motorhome a few times and we also went to their house. They have a motorhome too (no influence from us of course). We spent some evenings eating, drinking, talking, drinking, discussing everything under the sun and ....drinking! Jack is the co-author with Peg on the "Running" series of books they collaborate on. Book number three will be in the works shortly for all you fans out there!!

We also spent time with our friends Dennis and Diane. We met them when they stayed at our B & B several times over the 10 years we ran it. They liked the small development the B & B was in so much, they ended up buying two side-by-side lots there! They completed their new house about three years ago and are now our neighbors. They moved from Spartanburg, SC and Dennis decided to learn how to cut hair for a living. He now owns his own barber shop in Holden Beach, the next beach up from where we are in Ocean Isle Beach. Dennis sometimes gives haircuts on the he did for me, here in his garage, just before we hit the road in September.

One of my best buddies is Chris. He and I are kind of a two man geek squad. Both love our Macintosh computers and all the cool things that go with them. He was probably one of the first guys I met when we moved into the Shallotte area I could call a friend. Here we are sitting outside The Purple Onion, an eating establishment in downtown Shallotte. Peg was on the other side of the camera this time!

That brings me to our friend Ken. Ken is a free spirit. He has been an artist and
photographer for many years. He first used his artistic abilities as a print ad designer/illustrator on Madison Avenue in NY. Since then, he moved to Brunswick County, NC and began shooting nature photos. His work is known around the world and he does very well selling his photos. This picture was taken outside his new home he had just moved into. It is on a 13 acre parcel he has had for years and finally decided to put his house in the woods and commune with nature. Check out his photos at his Doe Creek Gallery website, which I designed of course!

Finally, a photo of our motorhome and one of the sky on one summer evening. The weather at the KOA was hot and humid, typical for the summers in North Carolina. In early summer, our A/C unit in the rear of the coach failed and I could not get another one since the company who makes them, Dometic, had a major fire in their Mexican assembly plant several weeks before. Because of this, none were available. I finally found a man who could fix the unit in Wilmington NC, so I drove the coach to him for the repair. So far, so good!

So...There you have it. A quick synopsis of our five plus months on the NC coast. Oh, did I tell you we also packed all our remaining "stuff" from the house and transported that to storage? Of course, that is another long story......

On to WillowTree RV Resort in Longs, SC.