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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,