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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Nashvegas New Years

Cruising the Cumberland River, December 31, 2011.  Now where can you beat the view and
 weather?  We plan to bring the "0 Regrets" down the Cumberland to Nashville in Spring of 2012 for a 200 mile cruise.  We have friends in the area to dock our boat and can dock at the Riverfront Park across river from Titan Stadium.  It is an easy walk from dock to downtown Nashville.  This will be our first long cruise since boarding the 0 Regrets.  A cruise from Green Turtle Bay Marina to Nashville is 160 miles.  That is 20 hrs. of cruising time for the trawler.  We plan to cruise to Old Hickory Lake to visit new boat friends and then return to Green Turtle after 3 more days on the river.  At 8 miles per your, time is slow, but the scenes stay with you.

The above Bridge is part of the greenway called Shelley Bottoms.  The above view is of the pedestrian bridge over the Cumberland River.  We hiked only a portion of the greenway which is over 16 miles round trip.   Beautiful park to walk, jog, bike, skate and enjoy the river.  All cities should use greenways to enhance the free joys of living.  We will cruise under this bridge during our Nashvegas Adventure. 

The Nashville area includes a number of greenway trails and these are available on the city web site.  Bring the children, dogs and bikes to enjoy the views and exercise along the trails.  During summer months the Shellby Greenway can be access via the Twin Rivers Water Park so you can cool off after a hike. 

LAST THOUGHT:  Just reading the 1,000 marble story.  I only have 676 marbles left if I live to be 75.  I hope to use each Saturday for my marbles without waste.  If you have not read the 1,000 marble fable, search Google and read.  It does make one think about our time on earth.  I spent a marble today with my wonderful Denise, played with wonderful dogs, hiked the above greenway  and met several new friends who enjoy the world of travel.  Beats being clued to television watching football all day.  I did enjoy a few of those "football" beers. 

Happy sailing,

Barry, Denise, Bailey and Bella

Friday, December 30, 2011

Last Thought

I suppose we all want our voice heard periodically.  I am no exception.  In fact I would to so far as to say I am a bit talkative.  Hummmm!!  Why do I feel multitude agreeing with me.  In response to my new found realization I like to talk, I though I should aways have the last thought when posting on this blog. 

For a beginning of the Last Thought I am musing about some of my particulars, quirks, habits and those things we and I cannot explain.  This may start with my lack of preference as to what I drink my milk from, ie. plastic or glass vessel.  Now, I do not drink from the plastic jug we now receive our milk.  But I do not have a care if the drinking container is plastic, glass or even wooden.  Just let me have my milk relatively clot free and little sour smell and I am good.  However, I do prefer my wine from a glass, but in a pinch, I really do not care.

I tend to be a bit particular about traveling in our motorhome.  I truly detest arriving to an unknown camp area in darkness.  This may stem from an early trip in our travels where we arrived at Paris Landing State Park and narrowly missed an over hanging power line.  Stumbling around in the dark is best left for when I have consumed too much wine.

I prefer my morning time.  My early morning coffee, after taking care of dog necessaries, is most important. I like my small breakfast and preferably at a local coffee spot for a little conversation.  Since I work much from home I like some outside visiting.  Imagine that.  I used to insist on my cappuccino but due to health concerns and waist line I am swearing off of the daily habit. 

I have asked the faithful wife for her input to my particular habits and annoying characteristics, but she has demurred for the moment.  She did say something about "requiring some thought". 

We are currently in Nashville, TN. more commonly known as "Nashvegas".  An extended weekend trip after all the holiday festivities and quiet time welcomed.  We did venture to the Zac Brown concert last evening and we can recommend the Patron Club for dinner and drinks and take in Zac in concert anytime you have the opportunity.  A great two hour show.  

We hope to see you all on the road or water. 

Barry, Denise, Bailey and Bella

Monday, December 26, 2011

2011 Update

The year is rapidly coming to an end.  What a year it has been.  Our travels continued with the month of January seeing our new motor home the Phaeton.  WOW!  What a start.  We have traveled about 8,000 miles this year aboard our trusted Phaeton without any major mechanical or injury issues.  As seen in these pages, we have traveled from Florida to home after our upgrade, with a stop along the way in Red Bay, AL. Followed by many excursions to Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake with a much longer trip through the southeast (1,500 miles) in early summer.  Again, the Phaeton rolled along caring for our every need in comfort we could not improve upon.  August say another voyage up north.  Pennysalvania, New York and Vermont were explored.  Lake Champlain became our favorite stop with a 4 day charter of a 32 ft. Grand Banks Trawler.  As written in these pages, do not miss Vermont and the Lake Champlain area.  Spring and summer must be awe inspiring. We hope to venture there in the next few years aboard "0 Regrets".

Speaking of our Trawler.  We have cruised "0 Regrets" since September along the shores of Kentucky Lake and limited travel on Lake Barkley.  We cruised to Paris Landing (80 miles round trip) with an overnight at the marina and one night on the "hook" on the Land Between Lakes side of Kentucky Lake.  Listening to the Coyotes sing each night is bone chilling and wonderous.  The skies are clear with more stars than though to exist.  Relaxing on the deck with a good glass of wine and the galaxy above reminds one of the smallness of our existence.  But,  I am glad to be here. 

"0 Regrets" has not disappointed us.  She has performed very well for the older lady she has become. We have not managed to run aground or hit docks with any force to create damage.  We have had our blunders of course but nothing to stop the cruising.  Like RV travel, boating offers the opportunity to make many new friends along the way.  Our Pier 7 group welcomed us with open arms.  We are the smallest boat on the Pier but one of the most famous.  Infamous will come in future months.    As we sale her we plan future cruises to Nashville, TN. and maybe Chattanooga, TN. along the Tennessee River.  Later, maybe next fall, a trip south for the winter with docking in some Florida port.   I have witnessed so many boats visiting Green Turtle Bay Marina this fall only to leave in the AM for ports in Florida, Key West and Bahamas.  Envy is the right expression as I waved to the departing boats.  We must be a part of this cruise in fall of 2012. 

Part of our boating experience has been our new dock mates.  PR, Harold, Linda, Kathy and Dick have welcomed and helped us along the way.  I find myself buying adult beverages in payment for help rendered.  One of the first events was the retrieval of our retriever.  Yes, Bailey fell into the lake and was swimming playfully around the docks.  PR fired up his Dingy and we made like the Navy Seals completing a water rescue.  Seems Ms. Bailey got too inquisitive and just let her ample but overload the balance and plunged to the depts.  This has occurred twice in the short time aboard the boat.  While she does swim well, here ability to climb the dock is lacking.  I am certain further adventures will be spilled on these pages in coming months. Standby.

The Commonwealth Yacht Club has welcomed us.  Yep, a yacht club.  Can you imagine.  The yachts vary from 20 ft sailboats to the 90+ ft. houseboats.  Everyone is welcome. Just bring you own adult beverage as the community is "dry".  The food is wonderful with a young chef offering new specials each weekend.  Not to be over looked, the monthy celebrations offer a good reason for a party.  The bar patrons do remind me of the Star Wars Bar scene as Luke Skywalker makes his way in this alien crowd.  Our crowd is not alien just a wide mix of real characters.  I fit right in. 

Our most recent major event, after purchasing the Phaeton and "0 Regrets" is a strong urge and consideration of moving to the lake area.  After spending considerable time at the Canal Campground and Grand Rivers area we have rekindled our love of the lakes and water life.   Therefore, we are earnestly viewing housing options in the area in anticipation of a major move.  We hope to relocate in 2012 calling Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake our home base.  This would require some commuting for work but not a great distance.  The new location would give use quick access to "0 Regrets" and our Phaeton.  I-24 intersects the area permitting rapid travel in any direction.  Both major lake offer hundreds of miles of cruising waters with good access to the Gulf of Mexico and beyond.  This just may be the year for another chapter in our life of  0 Regrets!

We hope to see you along the road or sailing into the sunset.

Barry, Denise, Bailey and Bella

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Maiden Voyage of 0Regrets

After over a year searching for our next adventure, many days and hours on internet sites, walking docks and talking to many boat owners, the adventure began September 24th. with the maidenn voyage of our little boat, 0Regrets.  As the new name implies we pursue life to its fullest with no regret. 

Our new adventure is an Albin 36 Trawler purchased 9/22/2011 and sailed Saturday 9/24/2011.  A marine survey was completed, sea trial undertaken and lubirication analysis of engine, generator and transmission.  Our little boat came through clear of any major problems and we have begun our THREE YEAR TOUR.  We enjoyed 2 evenings of "rubbing and loving" the teak interior with another 1/2 day spent provisioning the boat for our first sail.  We pushed away from Green Turtle Bay Marina at noon Saturday in search of adventure and new "worlds".  They unfolded before our eyes with a beautiful sail along the Land Between the Lakes coast heading south on Kentucky Lake.  We were impressed that one of our dock neighbors hailed us on the VHF radio along the way to wish us happy sailing and told us our boat looks great on the water.  I was impressed I could even operate the radio with a "roger" to that. 

Navigating a boat takes the skill of Columbus and mathmatics of a higher plain.  You know, GPS, radar, depth sounders, VHF radio and a good paper chart.  Never mind that the GPS on our phones follow us on our route.  Well, Captain Barry under the guideance of Admiral Denise made our way to our chosen anchorage, Duncan Bay at the feverish clip of 8 knots (8.96 mph) for your land lubbers.  Dropping anchor is a harrowing task requiring slowing to a stop and pushing the windless button "down" till anchor and road is well placed.  We were rewarded with a secluded evening in a small bay watching the folliage turn many colors and wondering why we waited so long to float. 

Our evening passed quietly with a beautiful sunset and one challege awaited us.  We require our trusty dogs, Bailey and Bella to be our 2nd and 3d. mates for our cruise.  But where or where to potty?  We have not readied our Dingy as yet and it would be a long swim ashore.  Not to worry, Admiral Denise took the helm and secured a dog potty SYSTEM.  Right, a piece of astro turff in a plastic container with instructions to lead your dog to the spot and tell them to potty!  Well after 12 hrs. mate Bailey finally found a spot to Pee but this was on the bow deck 36 ft. from the appointed spot.  Bella just held her water.  But all ended well. Upon arriving at our dock at GTB with the help of our first dock friend, he was greated with Bailey and Bella dropping #2 on the bow, on the potty turf.  YEAH!!!  Success with an audiance.  We had to reasure our neighbor that this was a complimant to his helping us dock.  He was not over joyed but did continue to wish us home from our voyage.  Meanwhile, Bailey and Bella  seemed relieved.

Now for our Griswald moments!  Each new adventure seems to include a few moments which remain in our memories no matter how embarassing.  All the moments of our maiden voyage are the responsibility of Captain Barry.

1).  While disconnecting the shore electrical power I managed to drop the "Y" connector into the drink watching it sink to bottom of our dock.  These cost about $500.  OOPS.  Later with the help of our only new friend, I managed to snag the Y and pull aboard.  Whew.

2).  During the cruise wind increased and we opted to close the from portion of the bridge canvass.  Well in  order to help the Admiral, I applied excessive pressure on the wind screen cracking a portion.  Who know what that will cost. But the Admiral was understanding informing me that I could use my checking account.

We have planned our next adventure with 2 guests, brave unknowing souls.  Fair warning, we will keep all interested up to date on the new adventure of the 0Regrets.  Who knows, next fall maybe Florida and Bahamas for the winter months. 

Happy Sailing,   

Denise, Adm.  Captain Barry, Mates Bailey and Bella

Monday, September 5, 2011

Visit to Partridge Harbor

The cruise of Lake Champlain continued after a late morning departure from Burlington Boat House.  We certainly enjoyed our short visit to Burlington and all the new friends we made while at the dock.  I did get an opportunity to view a wonderful 36 ft. Grand Banks Trawler which was custom designed with great input from the current owner.  This would be the boat to dream about.  The Captain/owner mentioned he had the boat built and finished at age 60 and planned to sell it at age 70, current age is 68 years.  He volunteered he has two great son-in-laws but he did not want them to inherit the boat.  So, being generous we volunteered to be the one to take the boat off his hands in two years, inherit that is.  Sounded like a good idea to us but he did not take our email or names.  Oh Well!

We let go of the dock lines and adjourned to the flybridge to enjoy a sunny day cruise.  Having missed Willbrook Bay on the New York side of Lake Champlain, we cruised to the Four Brothers Islands then entered Willbrook Bay.  The Adirondack Mountains frame this side of the lake.  We took the opportunity to break for lunch while drifting along the bay.  Water depth varied from 30 ft. to 150 ft. so we could take our time to enjoy lunch.  The bay would be a good anchorage with shelter from southerly winds but exposed to the north.

Pushing on at a blazing speed of 8 knots (9mph) we warmed to the sun on the bridge.  Having closed the bimini due to high winds on our first cruise day, we were exposed to the sun but hats and sun screen helped. The beauty of the lake continued as we move south again on our way to dock in two days.  The plan is to go on the hook at Partridge Harbor which offers excellent shelter from wind in all directions but has enough depth to support a comfortable anchorage. 
View Larger Map

At this point we have cruised about 12 hours at a pace we can enjoy the mountains and lake.  Our technology included depth sounders, VHF radio and GPS/CHART READER from NAVIONICS.  The chart reader permits you to follow your sail line, see depths and calculate speed and record your progress on the chart.  You do become spoiled to the chart but you must keep look out for other boats, ferries and of course the weather.

Upon our arrival at Partridge Harbor, we discovered we had the harbor to ourselves.  Dropping anchor we could settle down for an afternoon cocktail and later grill steaks.  Life of a sailor is difficult, I must admit.  We had been warned that the Harbor is a popular anchorage on weekends so to expect company.  However, due to the approach Hurricane Irene, we hoped to have this harbor to ourselves.  However, our neighbors to the north, Canada, also found the harbor.  The sail boat arrived with the Canadian Flag flying as it silently slipped into the harbor near us.  

True to their northern spirits, the neighbors quickly anchored and took an afternoon dip in Partridge Harbor. We did test the waters but found the temps a bit too cool for our tastes.  While anchored next to the Canadians we were able to discuss our cruises.  We were quite  proud of our charter but the neighbors impressed us.  They were completing a cruise down to New York City and returning home to Montreal.  Now imagine, sailing past the Statue of Liberty and entering the Big Apple under sail.  We hope to have this experience in our trawler in not too distant future. 

Morning dawned quiet, with a bit of fog.  As the fog lifted our Canadian sailors quietly slipped out of the harbor, waving us farewell.  The mighty Turtle fired up its engine to begin our last day of the Lake Champlain cruise.  A bright sun greeted us on the bridge with little wind and a glassy lake.  We cruised south toward our home dock to await the arrival of Hurricane Irene.  We have the vision of cruising to the Lake Champlain locks and venturing down the Hudson to New York City in years ahead.  We are certain more adventures await our charter journey.

Happy sailing,

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Burlington Boat House, VT

We are docked at the well know Burlington Boat House docks.  We sailed here from Kingsland Bay on the east side of Lake Champlain.  Alas, the weather remains overcast with rain, but the Turtle has an inside helm and we vacated the flybridge.  The cruise to Burlington was smooth except for the following wind and sea(lake) waves.  The waves against the stern tends to push the stern port and starboard requiring more helm work to keep her on a steady course.  But the mighty Turtle handled well and we made Burlington in 3-4 hours.  We cruised at 8 knots which translates into 9 mph.  The trawler has a 120 hp Perkins diesel engine and is perfect for a slow cruise.  Cruising can only be enjoyed at a leisurely pace. 

Burlington Harbor offers a .5 mile breakwater as good protection from what can be a rough lake.  As we approached the docks we hailed them on the VHF radio.  We had called to make a slip reservation but they do require contact upon arrival.  Now this is were experience can help.  This VHF channel is monitored by all including the U S Coast Guard.  I can almost see the expression on the faces of listeners to our Kentucky accents as we stumble through the "radio" talk like saying "over" after our part of the conversation.  But the dock answered and was patient.  We did have to idle for about 30 minutes prior to docking and the Turtle deck crew had to change all mooring lines and bumpers to the port side prior to entering the slip.  We did manage to dock without endangering lives and boats. 

Burlington, VT is a quaint town of about 39,000 which is the largest town in Vermont.  The waterfront is supplied with all type of boats, docks, ferries and great sea food restaurants.  Walking up College Street brings you to the center of the town with a wide variety of retail and any number of dining opportunities.  We of course tried to help out the local establishments with our share of food and spirits.  Good sailors must have their daily share of "grog".  By land Burlington is a good location for exploring Vermont with all the Revolutionary War history and a Maritime Museum.  To the east of Burlington is Mt. Mansfield and west of Lake Champlain are the Adirondacks.   While at dock we encounterd a wide variety of boaters from Canada, France and any location in the U.S.  Lake Champlain is perfect for sailing due to considerable wind on most days and sufficient water required for a sail boat.  The Canadians sails south from Montreal and can continue south to the Lake Champlain Canal and Hudson River to New York City.  This route can be part of the Great Loop we hope to experience in future sails. 

 As you sail Lake Champlain the lake is bordered by mountains providing spectacular views.  The water is clear but a bit cool by Kentucky standards.  However, the local folks ski, swim, and fish until the lake freezes over at 30" of ice.  Then they break out the snow mobiles.    We plan to sail tomorrow for a cruise across Lake Champlain to Four Brothers Islands, Willsboro Bay and then south for another night "on the hook".  Hurricane Irene has changed our sail plan.  We need to return to our marina prior to the worst weather expected to occur on Sunday.  We of course, will keep look out for "Champ" as our days on the lake are limited.  If we located "Champ" I bet CNN could be interested!

Happy Sailing,


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

On the Hook

We are currently "on the Hook" at Kingsland Bay on Lake Champlain.  Day one of the cruise was eventful.  We happily cruised 33 miles north on the lake in 20=30 knot winds but the happy Turtle handled the wind and waves well.  Alas, at near our evening anchorage we lost the Bimini canvas on the fly bridge.  We managed to sale the sail but I did a 3 point landing with the Bimini in hand.  Flying into a sheltered bay we did manage to drop the hook and secure the Bimini.  It will not see service until our stop tomorrow at
Burlington Boat House docks.  But not all was lost.

We enjoyed a wonderful evening in the bay, had a great meal, I prepared of course and finished off with wine.  Our first night on this cruise will be in a cool breeze hopefully secure in this anchorage.  All is quite along the waterfront.  We will cover another 12 miles tomorrow to dock in Burlington and see part of the town.  It may never be the same when the Kentucky folks arrive.  If the wind subsides and Irene does not find us we will proceed further North up the lake.  Many islands to find along the way.  We have not found "Champ" as yet but we have hope.  No lake monster will deter this voyage of discovery.  The wind today must have been too rough for it or him.  We just cruised on by. 

We can certainly recommend the charter.  The first day has been exciting and most fun.  We keep looking over at each other on the fly bridge wondering if we are truly experiencing this adventure.  We continue to live and search for our adventures.  We can only hope many lie ahead to be experienced.  We promise to include all our friends and readers in the loop.

Happy sailing,

Denise, Barry, Bailey and Bella

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Saratoga Springs, New York

View Larger MapWell, New York welcomed us with poor directions  to a mystery campground.  After driving straight through the middle of Saratoga, dodging cars, pedestrians and narrow streets we discovered campground person gave us misleading directions.  OOPS!  Well we turned the Phaeton around and make a call to another campground and departed the interior of Saratoga.  We are located at the Saratoga RV Park.  I was not confident in the management when asked for a pull thru site.  She indicated she did not know if the site was vacant but if not just come back and she would find a "spot". I suppose she has not driven a motorhome and tow vehicle measuring 60 ft. in length.  Turning around can be a PROBLEM.  But luckily the site was vacant and easily accessed.  Heart warming after our foray to the interior of Saratoga Springs.  Quaint looking town and we would enjoy a walk through the town.  But the big splash awaits tomorrow. 

The above pic is the actual trawler we have chartered.  She has a wooden hull but interior looks good and my perch on the fly bridge is spoken for.  I am the Captain but of course Denise is the Admiral????  We arrive today, Tuesday to provision the boat for our cruise.  Move over Samuel De Champlain, we are following in your tracks.  Fortunately the Huron and Iroquois REMAIN friendly.  Skipper and Ginger will sail soon.  Alas, we were forced to leave Gilligan in the nursing home for they had a Wee tournament today.  His sea legs are not what they once were. 

As demanded by our 12 followers, we will continue to post our journey progress with as much boring detail as permitted.  Pirates are now known to frequent the waters of Lake Champlain but I do understand they have a lake monster "Champ".  We will give it a pat for all.

See you on the water soon,

Barry, Denise, Bailey and Bella

Two Days to the Splash

We are preparing to depart Morris, PA after a good visit with family.  The Back to the Roots tour was a success and more Roots than on can count.  Certainly for a Non-Root.  The country side around Morris, PA and surrounding towns reminds use of Eastern Kentucky except cleaner and all the taverns serve local beer and on Sunday.  No lack of the brew here.

The plan is made for voyage up into New York with a stay near Saratoga Springs, NY before the final leg of the journey to Lake Champlain and the trawler.  We are increasingly excited, maybe just me, about the voyage of the trawler which I am sure we will name upon casting off.  However, Minnow is not an option.  The natives are friendly although they speak a different dialect.  I do not anticipate press at our splash of the trawler, but a warm welcome would be great. 

If the tour of Lake Champlain is successful, we may cancel plans at Apple Island RV Resort on S. Hero Island and take the ferry across lake to New York.  Lake Placid looks like our next location after the trawler voyage.  I did not bring my snow skies but the weather is just too warm.   The kayaks can float the lake and rivers exploring new waters. 

See you on the road or water;

Denise, Barry, Bailey and Bella

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Journey to North Country

The long awaited journey of the Phaeton has begun.  Finally!  The dust was transported with us due to my recent visit to a local hospital with a heart thingy.  Checked out ok in that I do have a heart.  But a little fine tuning is in order.  <iframe width="425" height="350" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src=",+pa&sll=37.160317,-95.712891&sspn=40.561625,92.724609&vpsrc=6&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Morris,+Tioga,+Pennsylvania&ll=41.595,-77.2925&spn=1.201596,2.897644&z=9&output=embed">iframe><br />href=",+pa&sll=37.160317,-95.712891&sspn=40.561625,92.724609&vpsrc=6&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Morris,+Tioga,+Pennsylvania&ll=41.595,-77.2925&spn=1.201596,2.897644&z=9" style="color:#0000FF;text-align:left">View Larger Map

We are currently docked in Morris, PA for a family reunion.  The Root family stages an annual reunion and Denise has not attended since she was in a training bra.  Alas, I am the new husband and will be indoctrinated by the Roots.  Back to her Roots.  The town of Morris, PA sports two bars/taverns, which also serve as the local package store and restaurant.  I did notice one stop sign as entering the Morris.  The terrain reminds me of Eastern Kentucky but much more maintained dwellings, yards and generally cleaner. No diaper trees here. 

We are docked at Twin Streams Campground only a short hike from the Root Reunion site.  The family owned and operated campground includes a few 50 amp sites on grass.  A number of seasonal campers here but unlike other areas with seasonal sites, these are well maintained.  The grass site would be OK except for soft ground.   Our rear jacks buried down 3 blocks permitting the rear jacks to fully extend.  YUCK!  This may be a problem on Monday when departing.  We have experienced difficulty with electric jacks and this is just asking for it.  Ah Well, we will dig our way out. 

Our plans continue for exploration of Morris, PA and surrounding area.  Also, plans have expanded for your cruise on Lake Champlain with extending the charter time aboard the "Minnow".  I will attempt to describe our location via coordinates while "at sea" for those needing to know where we may find land.  You can rest assured, many adventures await us afloat or land bound.

See you on the Road or Water,

Denise, Barry, Bailey and Bella

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Longing for a Journey

After several weeks at dock, the Phaeton is tugging at her lines longing to begin another journey.  We made the journey to the south land in spring and have been docked at the Canal Campground since.  Alas, we will be at dock here till early August and then move about 10 miles to the Eureka Campground for a stay.  But, the path of the next journey is taking shape.

While we may not be overjoyed with family reunions, the annual reunion of the Root family takes place August 20th in northern Pennsylvania.  Since we have not ventured into this region, it seems only proper that we should inflict ourselves on the unsuspecting family for a few days.  Denise assures me they have a great deal of fun and do enjoy their wine. 

View Larger Map

We anticipate arrival at Morris, PA after 2-3 days travel, then on to the Adirondack Mountains in upper state New York.  That is right, I said New York.   But of course not anywhere near the city.  We hope that September will bring fall colors to the mountains and much cooler temps for the Phaeton.  I have begun the travel plan which of course entails many hours of exhaustive research to secure the right travel plan, campgrounds and of course the "sights".  We may venture to Montreal, CA while practicing our southern french.

On another note, I have noticed a bit of lethargic in my Blog writings.  I have come to the opinion that this is in part attributable to lack of movement.  Not mine as much as the wheeled beast we see as home.  Also, I have noticed several references to nautical terms in my speech and writing.  The "boat" is calling.  Our someday in the trawler may be sooner than we might think.  Upon arising during the night for a wee visit, I hear the hum of the air conditioner and inevitably my thought turns to the quiet hum of the boat engine as our trawler crosses the Gulf, Atlantic and Great Lakes.  Of course for this to be real, my bride must be at the helm for someone must coxswain the ship.  

I can only attribute this chain of thoughts to the longing for the journey.  Thus we plan for the New York journey purposefully avoiding cities, crowds and plan to bask in the fall colors while enjoying the relief of the temps.  Our travels have reminded us that the Journey is the trip, not the destination.  Cruising along in the Phaeton with the gentle hum of the diesel, checking the GPS, radar and depth sounder(here I go again), we ply the asphalt waters for yet another voyage.    

Run along the dock, swing a leg over the caprail, step of the spring lines and pounce aboard the Phaeton and come along with us on our new cruise.  We promise the handle the lines, weigh anchor, launch the "dingy" and provide the "grog" on the cockpit each evening. Come along with the Phaeton for a "3 hour tour" and enjoy.

We wish you a light wind, following seas and new ports.

Barry, Denise, Bailey and Bella

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Another Adventure Dream

One never accomplished anything without a "dream".  Our travels during the past 3 years has opened our eyes and hearts to the wonderful world of travel.  As I have attempted to chronicle in the pages of "Rubber Rats", the views, people and adventure traveling the U. S. has provided us with new friends and a great appreciation of this country and its beauty.  Therefore, we are starting to pursue another "dream". 

As with all dreams, they sometimes fail to come true.  No matter, the person who does not dream does not have much to look forward to.  As Denise and I have a rather active dream center we have decided to see where this new adventure will lead us. 

One way to explain the scope of the new adventure is a map of the new "trail".  File:Great Loop Route Map.jpeg

Now please put your store bought teeth back in your head and we will explain the dream.
The Great Loop is to cruise the eastern half of the U. S. via intercoastal water routes and the Atlantic and Gulf Waters.  The route ranges from 5,000 to 8,000 miles dependent upon the side trips we may decide to embrace.  As seen on the above map, the cruisers can vary the route as well as the timing of seasons to enjoy the best weather.  Most "loopers" complete the cruise over a 1-2 year period.  Some choose to sail straight through and can complete the cruise in 8-10 months.   We however, have a different idea.  Why not combine boat and motor home travel.

We seem to have the motor home travel down to a comfortable method or routine.  Now it is time to learn the boat cruising.  We envision spending part of the year on the boat and a portion on the motor home, taking advantage of the seasons and favorable sailing patterns, i.e. weather and currents.  Now, we have not worked out the logistics of this scheme but we are certain it can be done. 

Boat Hunt:  Our research has revealed the most popular craft to cruising the Loop is a trawler.  Now, best explained that is a fairly large, slow, stable craft.  We are learning the term "trawler" encompasses a wide variety of styles, hull designs, size and manufacturers.  We anticipate a one year search for the right boat and another year learning the navigation and getting comfortable with the boat.  Thus far the research and boat search has been fun. 

We are fortunate that Green Turtle Bay Marina is one of the favorite Looper stops.  We have toured several boats with the broker and are talking to experienced sailors in planning our new quest.  We have discovered the beauty and variety of the home country while traveling over 30,000 miles in the past 3 years.  Now, we want to travel several thousand more miles (nautical) seeing this country via the water ways. 

So, come along with the "Minnow" for a three year tour as we try to get lost.  I plan to be just a deck hand while Captain Denise pilots the vessel through all types of water, waves and wind.  Maybe we can just drift along.  We plan to spend many evenings "on the hook" anchored in beautiful harbors enjoying the setting sun and wondering what the next day will present us.  So come aboard, bring a smile, adventurous spirit and of course a bottle of wine.  Welcome aboard.

Barry, Denise, Bailey and Bella

Thursday, May 26, 2011

South Carolina Caravan

We are currently located in the wilds of South Carolina in midst of a thunderstorm.  Hopefully no tornadoes, oops the satelite just went black.  Must be the rain.  You know, cats and dogs etc.  Here could be raccoons, squirrels, snakes and moon shiners. 

We are on way to visit the Fam-Damily in Salem, SC.  They provide us with the Henderson Hilton treatment and spoil us on the way home.  We plan to park the Phaeton in the cul-de-sac and they will through out the extension cord.  Do not tell the security guards.  Brother in law said " we will sneak you in the back way". Now that is a welcome.

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I am sure more will be told about this arrival and visit.  We are located at the Magnolia RV Park in Kinards, SC off I-26. Now, I do not know the demand for the area, but we were told we have the last and I mean the LAST, 50 amp hook ups.  Now the park is not full but we do feel special.  The park is good and convenient.  So, if you are passing near Columbia, SC and need a stop, this park is for you.  Remember to  question the lady checking you in about her accent.  She is from Maine and has not adopted the South Carolina accent.  Shame. 

So come one come all to the south.  From here you can see 4 states.  You know, state of mind, confusion, Ecstasy, madness, bliss, ignorance and state of adventure.  That would be more states.  Oh well, who is counting.  Come visit the area and make sure you ask for the Lady of Maine.  She will correct your English and welcome you to the park.  Watch out, yawns cost more.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Beaching at Atlantic Beach

The latest Phaeton tour started in the hills of northwest Alabama, then on to the quiet shores of Lake Seminole in southern Georgia and then onto the beaches of the east coast of Florida.  The spring tour of 2011 continues. 

We are located at Jacksonville, Florida most closely located to Mayport, Florida along the beach of the Kathryn Hanna Park.  The visit is a bit nostalgic for me as I spent 18 months here during my last years in the U. S. Navy.  Jacksonville has always been a thriving city and continues to prosper during the recent recession and prior recessions.

Kathryn Hanna Park is owned and operated by the City of Jacksonville.  The park is along the shore of Atlantic Beach.  We are only about a 1/4 mile walk or drive to the beach.  The park is set amongst the palms and live oaks native to the area offering abundant shade and cool breezes from the beach.  The sites are not necessarily conducive to big rigs but  the park accommodated our 42 ft. rig with some tight turns.  The price is good and of course the access to the beach is not to be beaten for the dollar.  The beach is dog friendly if leashed.  We of course challenged the rules this evening and Bailey romped along the shallows. 
All sites in the park include full hook up except some do not offer 50 amp electric service.  I would advise anyone visiting with a rig over 30 ft. to bring a saw for the palm fronds.  The sites are sand and not level.  The park offers a store, shower facilities and a friendly staff.  The beach is always at quick access.  A short walk or drive will take you to the long Atlantic and Jacksonville Beaches with miles of good sand and Atlantic Ocean.  While the beaches are busy on weekends, most week days a few souls can be found and an early evening walks will find you almost along.  We always enjoy taking Bailey out for a beach run. 

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The sea lanes travel across Atlantic Beach with both civilian and military ships passing your way.  A good pair of binoculars helps get a good view of the ships.  Air traffic is typically Navy and Marine helicopters.  While at Kathryn Hanna Park you have the best with seclude sites and quick access to wonderful beaches. 

So folks, get off the couch and gas up the RV or auto and make  your way to norther Florida for fun in the sun without the oppressive heat of July and August.  See you soon

Happy trails,
Barry, Denise, Bailey and Bella

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Lady of Thor

Encountering a mythical legend in a Wrangler (horse) Camp Ground is never anticipated.  In fact, this encounter was of the Lady Thor.  While she did not pound the anvel with a hammer, she walks the U.S. with a presence of spirit.   Lady Thor is traveling North to the Land of the Keweenaw Peninsula. 

Our audiance with Lady Thor was an accidental encounter during a "necessary" walking of our dogs.  We were visiting the new Wrangler Camp as part of the Pennyrile State Park Camp Ground exploring the suitability of the new sites for our Phaeton Motor Home.  The Commonwealth of Kentucky has invested over One Million $$ in construction and expansion of the Wrangler Camp.  Being one of the oldest if not the oldest Kentucky State Park, the camp ground remains in need of renovation to modern standards.  This has begun with the Wrangler Camp.  Under these unusual surroundings we met Lady Thor.

The mythical character manfested herself in the form of a single lady traveler with her trusted friend "Bailey". It seemed that the Lady was somewhat bored being a lone traveler and caught in recent monsoons aflicted upon the western portion of Kentucky.  She did make this trek to Pennyrile to play golf, however, it seemed the course was below water level.  Therefore, she saw fit to visit with mere earthlings to share a portion of her life and recent history. 

It seems that even Thor Gods are susceptable to the whims of the heart.  With a smile and short laugh, Lady Thor explained how that even she found herself traveling alone without THOR.  She did have a smile during this short story.  It seems that THOR, her husband attended a 50 yr class reunion, meeting up with an old girlfriend from the teen years of the THOR God.  Go figure.  She explained THOR now lives with a younger earthling in Atlanta and our Lady is traveling the country in her new Thor motorhome.  The twinkle in her eye revealed a bit of mischief.  The Lady does not know where she will travel, who she will meet or what adventures await.  Whick is the escence of wanderings in a motor home.  "All who wonder are not lost". see quoted.  We discussed a number of aspects about her travel, golf, kayaking and the trip back to the Upper Peninsula.

The woman of steel and fire, Lady Thor left us with a smile, a farwell wave and her good wishes.  The luck emparted by the Lady Thor will help pave our way along the highways and lanes we travel.  We cannot summon any sympathy for THOR as he has created his own world.  We do anticipate the Lady will travel our earth enjoying each moment with surprise, a laugh and that certain twinkle in her eye.  We will look forward to a return vist from the Lady in coming years. 

Ahhh, another of our many adventures and characters we meet along the wandering of the Phaeton.  Encountering mythical characters, mystical vibrations and those amazing sunsets is only a part of the travel adventure.

Happy Trails,
Barry, Denise, Bailey and Bella.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Eastbank COE Park

We are currently located along the shores of Seminole Lake on the Florida-Georgia Line.  We do hestitate to explain the granduer of this location.  But we do need to share with our traveling friends.  The COE park is about 40 sites with 3 areas.  The sites are large, many paved and most on lake front or with lake view. Below is a view of our site, near one acre in size.

The park is located about one mile north of Chattahoochee, FL.  Now Chattahoochee is a very small community offering a convenience store with fuel, 2 or 3 restaurants, depending upon your definition of a restaurant and of course a hardware and bait shop.  This is the location for relaxing, some fishing and bird watching.  Now, this is Florida so one must be aware of the gators.  When we arrived we noticed several gosling with down.  They have disappeared.  So, unfortunately we think the gators had a good meal or two.  Survival of the fittest.
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We will be traveling today to the Jacksonville area to visit family, friends, beach and water.  A fairly short trip from this park.  The journey of the Phaeton continues the southern swing.  We would encourage anyone who is visiting this area to stay and the Corp of Engineer Park, Eastbank.  The location is private, quiet with great views of lake and fishing.  We could relax her for 2 weeks.

Happy Trails,

Barry, Denise, Bailey and Bella

Friday, May 13, 2011

Lamaze at Tiffin

Giving birth is a unique experience.  We had the opportunity to witness the birth of a number of motor homes during our visit to the Tiffin Motor Home Factory in Red Bay, Alabama.  However, the visit is only the beginning of enjoying Red Bay and the Tiffin Experience. 

Red Bay, AL is a small community supporting about 3,800 souls with 1,100 employed at Tiffin Motor Homes.  Another number are gainfully employed at the Sunshine Dog Food Company.  The smell of dog food being created is an unusual experience in itself.  Do not miss Katie's Cakes and Florist for fine dining in the Red Bay experience.  Good food and a floral experience. 

Back to the subject.  We participated in the factory tour being met by Red, at 90 yrs. old the greater at Tiffin for the tour.  He retired last year after many decades showing the public how the Tiffin Motorhomes are constructed.  It is an eye opener to view the beginnings with a chassis, engine and transmission with a temporary seat for moving the chassis to various locations in the factory.  Tiffin constructs most of the major components in various factories in Alabama and Mississippi.   We were guided by a couple with working knowedge of the various factory sections during the construction.  We found the most unique aspect of the tour being able to talk to any techs during constructions, stopping their work to answer questins and how us what the were completing.  That would not be possible in any auto manufactoring facility.  For example, we stopped workers installing the front and rear caps, one of the most difficult of the manufacturing process, to have them guide us through their tasks

While at the Tiffin Service Facility we stayed at their full service camp ground situated along an old airport runway.  They did explain that the airport closed a number of years ago when their only plane broke down and the Tiffin family purchased the property.  Giving new meaning to travel. 

We met owners from New Zealand, Britain, Canada and every state in the Union.  We all travel in the Tiffin Motorthome with endless experiences and tips on repair and travel locations.  The factory offers a lounge with pets welcome and all employees have that deep south charm and patience.  At the factory, all techs will answer your questions and help you buy parts and worry over your home on wheels.  Each evening the dogs walks their owners during the cocktail hour inspiring stories of travel, adventure and motorhome ownership. You can gain quite an education just walking the walk in the Tiffin Campground. 

Long time owners suggested we travel NOW. Not waiting for the eventual "retirement"  During our visit a fellow of 83 yrs took possession of a new Zephyr motorhome to continue his travels around the U. S.   We could only wish him well and hope we can continue our adventures at that age. 

We can only encourage our friends to take flight, spread your wings and enjoy new adventures when you can.  Enjoy the moment and remember the Tiffin moto "roughing it smoothly".

Happy trails,
Denise and Barry

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Hematite Lake Trail

It is even hard to spell Hematite.  Fortunately hiking the Hematite Trail is not as arduous.  Beware, if you have thighs that rub the jeans white, do not attempt this trail.  However, if you have an eye for birding, fish, flowers and the nature of Land Between the Lakes, take this short hike.  Pack a shore lunch, fishing rod, worms, bug spray and cold drink for a wonderful Spring day.  Do not forget the camera.  The hike is only about 2 miles and not difficult.  Keep your imagination with you and you might see some "original" settlers of the Between the Rivers communities. 

Crossing the stepping stones at the damn permit entrance into the enchanting trek around Hematite Lake. Don't forget to get your feet wet.  The only ones who miss out are the ones unwilling to risk wet feet.    If we never get our feet wet how do we know what dry feels like.  Sneak up on the wood dock and water fowl observation shack, like you are surprising the geese.  Using the imagination of your children, run along the wood planks, following your reflection in the lake.  Time stops, sun shines, water ripples and geese honk.  This is your Hematite Lake. 

After your exploration around the lake, visit the Nature Center for education about all the wildlife in the Land Between the Lakes.  Spring is the time for butterflies, and hummingbirds.  Rangers and volunteers are available for questions.  Visit with the Bald Eagles, Wolf, Deer and Birds.  Remember most of this is FREE.
Return to the lake with your canoe, kayak or waders.  Spring is great fishing and sneaking up on criters with your boat. 

Lose your imagination, free the kids, kick of the shoes and get your feet wet.  Afterall, mud and wet feet reveal our true nature.  Those who cannot get dirty cannot be clean.

Happy trails,

Monday, April 18, 2011

In our BackYard

It dawned on me that our travels take us through and across our large backyard.  Like our home yard we can take that for granted.  Having had this profound thought I want to embark on a series of articles reflecting the various "backyards" we encounter along the trails.

First of these was explored the weekend of April 8-9.  Our habit is to reside at the Canal Campground at Grand Rivers for several weeks during this Spring time it seemed we should continue our exploration of the history of this area.  Now, obscure history seems to find me even when I am hiding.  Pulled by unknown and possible mystic forces, I propelled my self and loving wife to explore Mantle Rock.
As seen from Highway 133, Mantle Rock is marked but somewhat obscure historical area in western Kentucky near the banks of the Ohio River.    Marking the winter camping ground for the Cherokee Indians walking the "Trail of Tears" this short trail has mystical, ghostly remembrances for the forced march of the native Americans.
The aerial photos depicts the current hiking trail to the natural arch of Mantel Rock.  Now being an adventurous couple we chose to hike the long way around to get a feel of the "trail of tears".  A portion of the current trail follows along the original trail of tears.  Imagine walking in the foot steps of these Americans from the 1800's.  Many hiked several hundred miles during the forced march west.  As we stumbled along the trail, slipping in mud and moss, our path was a lark compared to the exhausted Americans carrying children, food, water and their limited possessions.  Our walk along this portion of the trail was void of human tracks but decorated with spring flowers, singing birds and water trickling down to the creek.  This is a moment to let your imagination soar.

After traversing the down the ridge to discover a gently flowing creek we were directed off the Trail of Tears as it crosses private property.  The marked trail leads you along the creek.  It is easy to imagine the exhausted Cherokee kneeling for water, filling gourds, skins and possibly a quick meal.
 The creek pools just below this portion of the ridge.  Suddenly you begin stumbling across limestone boulders, climbing higher on the ridge.  Large out croppings appear and you know you have reached the Mantel.  But wait, the ridge continues along more creek with even larger boulders and pools.  Rounding a portion of the ridge you are confronted with Mantel Rock.  Oddly a large tree has grown behind the arch giving more life to the history of the rock.  The Mantel is 40 ft. high and 80 ft. long.  Unusually, I did not notice any graffiti or carving in the rock.  Another indication that the modern world has not blimished this historical location. 
I was warned that cosmic forces can be experienced near the Mantel Rock.  While cosmic forces may not be present, the historical feel of the formation is a reminder of the history of the Native American in our Backyard.  We only inhabit their land at present and we must be good guardians for the Americans who passed this way.    Soar with your imagination, explore new lands and find those mystic feelings along a new path.

Happy Trails,

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Begining of 2011

Lack of inspiration usually temps the writer to expound on the beginning of things.  Thus we are arriving at Spring of 2011.  While I usually have a number of ideas for the blog, a beginning seems most appropriate. Hopefully I can overcome the pressure to be original and write about the beginning. 

My spring began with time to spent with my grandson, Bennett.  Now, most of you know I do not relish entertaining children.  After all, "anyone who hates dogs and kids cannot be all bad"!  However, time with "Beans" can be good.     To be 18 offers certain hazards to all of us.  We made the voyage in the Phaeton to Hillmans Ferry Campground in Land Between the Lakes.   I normally avoid this campground due to the 500 screaming children found ravaging the other campers.  But during March, they are fortunately in school, jail or abducted by aliens and not there.   Why do they not have a corn maze to lose the children?

Planning of our journeys for 2011 is like letting the children loose in the candy store.  What a large and interesting country we inhabit.  Casting round the country one must consider the current diesel fuel prices. Damn the torpedoes, we will push on inspite of the fuel.   The Phaeton must move on.  Where oh where do we travel?   To steal a phrase,  "can plans be written in Jello"?  We are residing at the Canal COE park at Grand Rivers, KY.  This has become of home base.  We will reside here for month of April with maybe a side trip to Crab Orchard National Wildlife Reserve and Keenland Racing Track.  Hence the "jello".  

Hiking today along the Honker Lake Trail was a wonderful and wearing journey.  Hunting the eagles was futile but the adventure along the lake and the fatigue made the later steak and beer refreshing.  After all I am the "crew" for the poparazzi, Lady Denise.  Hence, lugging heavy lens, water, binoculars, maps and keeping unwanted fans at arms length is just a part of the job. 

The flight returns to Land Between the Lakes.  These Zebra butterflies are beautiful and were in abundance on our hike around Hemitite Lake.  Spring 2011 seems to be busting out.  Watching the Osprey feed their young, building the nest larger and soaring with the wind just makes our day.
I leave you on this date, tired, refreshed, encouraged by nature and  charging into another day.  Bring on the JELLO!

Happy trails,

Denise and Barry, Bailey and Bella

Monday, March 21, 2011

Collins Maiden Voyage

Life seldom presents an opportunity to mentor a young couple in ways that reflect your life style and values.  However, this past weekend we had the pleasure of such an experience.  We can only hope the experience was a pleasure for the Collins. 

The Collins family are "horsey", not unusual in Kentucky.  They are not old hats at the RV camping experience.  This brings to fore, the Youngs.  Now, we are not "horsey" but we do enjoy watching horse owners work day and night on their steeds.  We just relax and have an extra glass of wine and encourage their work.  Our close friends, Joe and Staci Collins purchased a new and first horse trailer with living quarters.  That would be quarters for humans in addition to the horses.  Let the Grisswald moments begin!

A long planned weekend began on Friday for the Collins Clan.   The diesel truck was attached to the new trailer, food was stored, tack at the ready and almost all was ready.  Wait!  Who has the keys?  A late night foray for keys discovered the lack of a key to the water compartment.  WOW.  Off they went to the dealer in search of a key.  Alas, all was saved when the Dealer instructed the nomads that they could open the water bay door with just a lift.  Joe had to return home while Ms. Staci, the horse woman, proceeded to the Dealer in search of the key.  It seems boys and Joe left all bedding etc. at home. 

Alas, they arrived rather late to the Wrangler Campground in the Land Between the Lakes all smiles and ready to rumble.  Wait, who can back the trailer into the camp site?  Joe, Staci, Gabe, or Noah?  After much discussion, the MAN of the family, Joe, took the task at heart and began the skillful task of backing the trailer.  I must admit, after receiving directions from at least 12 angles, Joe managed to park the trailer perfectly.  Staci must have been proud and the two boys were not embarrassed.  Not a single horse had been injured.

The Collins Bunch had been born.  They were camped  adjacent to our site within full view of the experienced wrangler/campers in the area.  Never the less, they proceeded to set the trailer, remove horses, muck the trailer and bed down horses for the nights.  I did hear the call of the wild, "beer thirty" SOON after the positioning of the trailer.  The living area was readied with sleeping bags and limited food.  Food must have been an after thought.  What do you feed two teen age boys, oats?  Instructions began!  You know the necessary items.  Like how do you turn on the frig, heat,water, sewer connection etc.  This is fodder for the Grisswald experiences.  I will not describe the Grisswald experiences, for the Collins Bunch may have the guts to post this on their blog.  I would not want to expose the guilty without permission.

Well, to finish the weekend.  All seemed to enjoy the adventure.  You know, getting in a "cat fight" with a fellow rider over a stall assignment. Drinking from a creek with horse manure all around. Trying to build a fire with a dull hachet and of course no matches. Wondering how do I reach the sewer connection with only a 8 ft. hose. Can I sleep by the fire at below freezing temps?  What happens if I pull the wrong valve release on the sewer connections?  How do you back this thing anyway?  I think all readers will appreciate the nurturing and mentoring required of the Youngs.  But all said, we had a ball.  Nothing like experience along the road.  If only they would let us ride those horses.  I did bring my best Stetson for the event.

Happy Trails,

Barry, Denise, Bailey and Bella

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Busy Work

OUCH!!! This picture give new meaning to "dry camping".  As provided by a fellow blogger, I could not resist the temptation to include in this post.  It is my understanding the poor fellow was trying to sell his motor home and demonstrate to a potential buyer that he could launch a boat with the coach. Well, the coach slide down a wet ramp and you can see the result.  He did not get the sale.   That would be an interesting call to the insurance agent.

Busy work for me today was "stuff" at the new Phaeton while in dry dock.  This included trying to get the satellite to work and failed.  I did manage to change plumbing connections at "entertainment center" for quick connection at water and flushing connections.    While this is a simple procedure, I take great pride in any task completed.  I even managed to reconnect the fire extinguisher the fine Fire Marshall required me to demonstrate during the mandatory inspection.  Hey, it is now secure.  I did grease the car hitch as installation will be a smooth task, since my Lady Denise wanted a 42 ft. coach in a 42 ft. garage.  But no complaints here.

I continued tasks by carefully installing a "bumper pad" on the post upon which I must touch the nose of the coach in order to install in the garage.  An old work towel and duct tape did very well.  I cannot see the portion which must touch the frame of the garage so I just pull forward until the coach stops.  Thus far no body damage.  I wonder if the owner of the garage would permit me to cut a hole in the overhead door for the hitch to extend out?  PROBABLY NOT.

I am ashamed of the exterior condition of the Phaeton.  The drive from Cave City and much rain caused much spatter on the coach.  Alas, no water connection at the garage.  I will give her a bath in front of our home prior to the next adventure.  I am sure my neighbors will appreciate the hosing of the coach in our street.  For you see, I cannot get the monster in our driveway.  Maybe they will help me.

Well another blog has been authored, much to the surprise of my many readers.  Our next planned voyage is to the Wrangler Campground at Land Between the Lakes (Barkley and Kentucky) to assist our friends in the maiden voyage of their new horse trailer with living accommodations.  I know, they are uninformed for they want us to assist in their training and breaking the first things on their trailer.  We do so much want to be of help.
Happy trails,

Barry, Denise, Bailey and Bella

Friday, February 25, 2011

Land Locked

We returned from our short adventure to Mammouth Cave area last weekend and managed to install the Phaeton back into the "barn".  I did have to meet the local constabulary, sheriff deputy for an inspection to make sure I did not steal the RV in Florida and manage to sneak into Kentucky.  Also, and most insulting, I had to meet the Kentucky Fire Marshall Rep. at the barn to inspect the Phaeton.  Now, I ask you how much risk can there be associated with a 2009 RV other than normal things that can cause a fire.  Well, $60 later and much talk he gave me a great sticker to install on the Phaeton, (not happening) and said have fun.  I had to drink two ciders while he was there just to keep from slapping him.  Oh well.  Must be the stimulus plan.

Anyhow, I hate it that our Phaeton is installed in the barn for the next two weeks.  I may have to pull it out and just camp there a night or two.  I do have to find the satellite problem for I do not want to pay for another tech visit. The last visit he had all working and when we arrived in Cave City the dreaded "no LNB voltage" signal occurred.  Go figure.  So, we have all working except the HD satellite and we continue to Rough It Smoothly.

We do have plans to help our friends on their Maiden Voyage of their new horse trailer, with accommodations.  We have reservations at the Wrangler Camp in the Land Between the Lakes for a good weekend of fun and horse back riding.  We like this brand of riding. They trailer the horses, wash them, muck the stalls, feed them and install the saddles. We just have to mount and ride.  My kind of horsey fun.

The new year of camping adventure is upon us and I am trembling with anticipation.  We plan a weekend trip to Keenland Racing for dry camping in the bus parking area.  Great, we can walk to the track, play the ponies, drink adult beverages then walk back to bus and start the BBQ.   Now that is my idea of camping.

We have opened a new, benevolent account at a local bank.  Since the price of diesel fuel has rocketed near $4.00 gallon, our new ministry is in need of donations.  The mobile ministry will see that any contributions are tax deductible with an appropriate receipt provided.  We will have numerous "cans" installed at truck stops and any service facility selling diesel fuel for your contributions.  You may visit this blog site to ask which particular charity you would like the ministry to service.  We only ask that you stay in touch with our blog and follow the progress of your contributions.  Thanks in advance for your support.  If I have offended anyone with this plan, let me know and we will spend your contribution as a fuel facility of your choosing.

That said, we will be traveling the hills and dales of this great country during 2011 and will continue to entertain (bore) you with our journey.  Please feel free to join our expeditions anytime during the year.

Happy trails,

Barry & Denise with Bailey and Bella

Monday, February 21, 2011

Tunnel Vision

Another great day in the Phaeton.  We continued our string of "Great Adventures" by visiting a portion of Mammoth Cave.  Well, when in Cave City you do cave things, right. 

Back to being about 10 year old again.  Now, Mother Denise helped this recovering, knee sore sort by picking the 2 mile, 480 steps up tour.  She was a bit worried about my mobility but a helping hand and encouragement made the difference.  Besides, who wants to be left behind in the dark in a cave of 392 miles.  NOT ME. 

A leisurely morning followed by a Mexican lunch and a cave tour.  Now, that is a good Sunday.  We can recommend you visit Mammouth Cave prior to school summer break to avoid the crowds. Our tour group was about 60 while the normal size is 120.  Dress warm for the cave is about 55 degrees all year.  We did have fun watching the young boys running around in awe of the massive cave while collecting some rock samples.  I would have joined them but this "10" year old could not keep up.

Now there are portions of the cave where it pays to be a bit short.  Denise had to duck more than I and we had fun at "fat man's missery" area.  We did have a short wait while we found some lard to help a fellow traveler through a very narrow portion of the cave.   Mission accomplished, we made our way through this narrow portion.  Unlike Mr. Houchen who died in the cave in the late 1800's.  I think his ghost continues some of the tours.

We plan to continue our tours of Mamouth Cave in coming trips.  We want to encourage all to tour the longest cave system in the world.  The down home feel of Cave City and the national park makes for a great trip.  See Jeff at the Cave City RV park for a great experience and try the local restaurants.  You might not mention my name to the park ranger for I did create a stir when I tried to steal his "Smokey Bear" hat. 

Happy trails,

Barry & Denise

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Corvetts and Cave Country

We could not resist the temptation to drag the Phaeton out of the barn after the departure of all the snow.  This respite from the frozen tundra may be short but we plan to take advantage.  We departed and arrived on Friday at the Cave Country RV Park for a much needed 3 day weekend. 
View Larger Map

Now, a diesel engine is new to us but we do know they need fuel on occassion.  We stoped at the Mortons Gap Pilot leaving Madisonville only to find all diesel pumps closed.  An attendant notified us they did not have diesel fuel.  Now, we had sufficient fuel to make Cave City but many long haul trucks were turning around  without fuel.  Now,  am I the only personn who would be astounded that a "truck stop" had no diesel fuel?  We rolled into Cave City in the dark, but rested and paid a visit to the adjoining Cracker Barrell.
Fuel will wait till Monday.

Today, Saturday,we ventured to Bowling Green for the required visit to Camping World and then on to the Corvette Museum.  Now I am not nor have I ever been a car guy.  The mystic of the Corvette followed me from childhood into the door of the museum.  I recall being about 12 yrs. old, cleaning Oakdale Pool and being in awe of the red corvette parked at our fence.  The image remains clear.  Two hot chicks sitting on the seat backs talking to the "older" life guards while we scrubbed the pool.  Well you know, the last laugh.  We rinsed the pool with a fire hose and some how the hose became wild and sprayed much water into the night sky only to fall across the Vet.  12 yr olds can get wild to. 

Touring the museum makes one realize the imagination and inginuity of the american engineer.  The designers fell in love with the concept and created a dream for most of us.  My most memorable Vet is the 1953, first year Vet.  The design was simple but a revolution was born.  I knew I would never be able to afford a Vet, but later at age 16 I almost talked by Grandfather Young into a 1966 Camaro.  I believe they were about $3,600, NEW.  I failed in that attempt.  My father indicated later that if I had succeeded O. A. Young would have made me return the car when he sombered up.  Probably best I failed.

So, take the time when near Bowling Green to step back in time and visit the Corvett Museum.  The only museum in the world created for one model of vehicle.  But I hope you do not need diesel fuel as you pass the Pilot at Mortons Gap.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The story continues........

While the prior article dealt with the beginning of the shakedown cruise for the Phaeton, the rest of the story must be told.  I will for the sake of my readers be more brief than our experience.
View of service facility from entrance.

Norris did show at our coach at 7 am as promised. We were directed to Bay 8 for the express bay and service.  However, our Phaeton had other ideas.  Upon closing the slides (4) and readying to move, the rear jacks would not retract.  Now you do not move at all when the jacks are deployed.  This is a safety precaution and much appreciated.  We endeavored upon the Tiffin techs and they responded, manually raising the rear jack, laying on the frozen ground and patiently relieving us of the faulty jack.  Upon moving the Bay 8 we encountered Robie Smith, the electrician looking for our major problem loss of electrical power.  After replacing the faulty driver side wiper arm, he could not determine our electrical problem as all was working at that moment. Hence, we moved back to our camp site for another night.  We did however, receive a call that afternoon from the Jack Shop and were instructed to stage at Bay 39 at 7am. the next morning for the jack repair.

We did as instructed, of course, and waited at Bay 39 at 7 am.  I parked the coach in the bay and Denise parked my auto behind the bay door. This proved to be a bad decision.  The jack was replaced at cost of $700. and then the tech backed into my Lexus.  Busted front bumper and all.  However, to Tiffin's credit they asked me to obtain an estimate and they would cover the costs.  What a company.  No argument in the matter.

Bay 41 was our next stop for the electrical problem, not as yet solved.  Now if you do not have motorhome experience, let me enlighten you.  If you do not have 12 volt or 110 volt you are dead in the water.  You are at a loss for lighting, heat or anything requiring electricity.  Not good at below freezing in Red Bay, AL.  While we waited in the customer lounge, "pets permitted", the tech searched our coach.  Once again all was working properly.  I visited the bay enlighting Robie about the symptoms encounted with the electrical supply.  Standing nearby was a bit older man also a tech at Tiffin.  The two techs began brainstorming the problem saying things like "remember that coach we had 2 weeks ago with the bad fuze connections", etc. Now this was refreshing.  The two techs were sincerely working to find the problem.  Fortunately Robie moved the ground cable to the battery pack and all power was lost.  YEAH!  The problem was that the cable was not crimped to the connections as required. Therefore, the intermitent short.  That was corrected and all power returned.  ONCE AGAIN, TIFFIN SAID NO CHARGE, IT WAS OUR MISTAKE AT TIME OF CONSTRUCTION.

We left Tiffin and Red Bay, AL the next day with the warm and fuzzy feeling about Tiffin and their employees.  I do not think you would get this treatment and access at Monoco, Fleetwood or Winnebago. All we had to pay was the campground fee of $20/day and we were on our way.  We survived the return to Madisonville  without any problems.

Now upon our return last evening after dark, have you ever tried to put a 42.5 ft coach with hitch and large mirrors into a 44 ft. garage?  That required removal of the tow hitch and folding of the mirrors against the coach sides to finally close the garage door. I told Lady Denise this would be a concern, but no the 42.5 ft coach was a must have.  I also must admit I love the Phaeton for the quality, comfort, looks and the great drive.  So what if I cannot walk around the coach in the garage.  I can slide under to the other side or open the bay door and loose all the heat.  Not a problem.

So, the new coach is in the "barn" during another snow storm.  We plan to take the Phaeton back to Tiffin at least once per year for a check up.  The quality of the work and the friendly staff makes all the difference. The legend of the Phaeton and Tiffin family live on.

Happy Trails,

Barry & Denise

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Shakedown Cruise

We departed Lazy Days on Monday and began the first cruise in the Phaeton.  Having a late start we cruised and I mean cruised, to a campground at Madison, Fl. in the panhandle area.  A very quiet Jellystone campground normally busy in summer months.  But a good stop for tired and new owners.  We even managed to activate the satelite and get some TV time.  WOW.

View Larger Map
We proceded on Tuesday with plans to stop near or above Montgomery, AL.  Alas, trouble occurred near Clanton, AL.  During a downpour we lost the drive side wiper arm. I mean the arm broke in half and was flopping along side the coach.  Now a 8 ft. wide windshield does not do well with one wiper.  We limped into a truck stop and managed to stay the evening.  Not so bad except later we lost all power to the coach. I mean no battery, inverter etc.  Now that would not be so bad but no heat was a bummer.  Also, the next morning we could not bring in the two slides we deployed the prior evening.   Patience is not my best side.  But calling to the Tiffin Factotry, our coach manufacturer in Red Bayt, AL. was a great experience.  Jerry in the service department walked me through jumping the power supply and we managed to return slides and begin our side trip to Red Bay and the factory.  We had planned to visit here later but now is the time.
Red Bay is a town of about 3,000 located adjacent to the Mississippi boarder and typical of a small rural community.  We new we were in a rural area when lunch was a great buffet with a cost of only $7.50 and everyone treated us like we lived here.  The check in at the Tiffin Plant/campground was the same.  We were quickly introduced to Cowgirl who later asked us to look at her "tush".  This was interpreted to be the rear of the coach with the Zephyr mud flap.  We are planning to do the plant tour tomorrow morning and hopefully the coach will be in a service bay tomorrow.  The express bay is for those who show up without an appointment. We plan to meet Bob Tiffin if possible. He is available to all visitors and owns the company.  Where can you visit a manufacturing plant and meet the owner.  This is one of the reasons we purchased the Phaeton. 

I must mention the experience at the Piggly Wiggley.  While purchasing vittals, I visited the deli counter and ordered some luch meet.  While waiting I notice several employees working in the area.   A young woman waited on me and was dishing up food.  The other folks were working but all the while were laughing, singing, telling stories and greating customers by first name and jokes.  This so reminded me of a church kitchen with all the women working and laughing.  Therefore, I informed the group they would be my "Piggley Wiggly Church Kitchen" in the next blog article.  Now I ask you, where does everyone know you name, ask how you are doing, kid  you about your hair, nails, etc. and make you laugh at the same time.  Try that at Wal Mart.  It was heart warming to watch these ladies, happy in their work but warm to customers and with a smile on the faces.  This has been our experience with everyone at Red Bay. 

Tomorrow, Norris is to visit our coach about 6:30 AM.  I was told at check in that he is a real redneck with a chaw of tobacco in his cheek but the guy to get us in the service bays.  I will be awaiting this man with my dog and  a hot cup of coffee.  I was also told the area sounds like an airport about 7 AM with all the diesel engines starting and coaches making way to the service bays.

We will look forward to a learning experience here at Tiffin.  Keep tuned for further developments.

Happy Trails
Denise & Barry