Bill and Kit’s 2014 Excellent Adventure, Journal #20

Latitude: Wherever ••• Longitude: Who Cares

Latitude: Wherever ••• Longitude: Who Cares

 It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.

Ernest Hemingway


Friday, April 25, 2014:  On the road from the Delaware Army National Guard Post in Bethany Beach, Delaware.  It is currently 1100 hours and the temperature is 56 degrees under sunny skies.  Kit and I head up old US-1 toward Lewes, Delaware…..the self-described “First Town in the First State”.

We decided to take truck and trailer across Delaware Bay by embarking on the Cape May – Lewes Ferry.  However after purchasing our ticket and parking in the designated lane we noticed the size of the boat.

To Springfield-Pix #1

Scratching our collective heads, well I was Kit was rolling her collective eyes, I noticed there was a much larger ship pulling into port.

To Springfield-Pix #2

Once tied up (the ferry-not me) the crew expertly guided our rig onto the vehicle deck where we left it to head topside and enjoy the views and the shipboard amenities.

To Springfield-Pix #4

As the last car rumbled down the loading ramp the crew made preparations for getting underway.

To Springfield-Pix #5

Soon, the huge vessel started to belch stack gas high into the air as she lumbered away from shore.

To Springfield-Pix #6

You may have noticed by the sign affixed to the starboard stack that this ferry system has been in continuous operation for the past 50 years.  It is more than a coincidence that the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel we transited a few days ago was built in 1964 and the Cape May–Lewes Ferry system commenced operations that year as well.  The ferryboats that currently take vehicles and passengers across Delaware Bay used to serve the same function across the Chesapeake Bay until the bridge and tunnel made them obsolete.

This water route is an extension of US Highway 9 and the transit takes an hour and a half as the ferry cruises eleven knots while crossing the seventeen mile bay.  Taking a land based route to our destination would cost us an additional three miles of travel distance and a whole lot less time and money.  Yep, it doesn’t make sense for us to ride the ferry from Lewes, Delaware to Cape May, New Jersey…..but no one has ever accused us of making sense!  We just did it for the experience, and besides, going to sea on a ship I don’t have to work on is a real treat!

The vessel we were embarked on was the MV New Jersey, one of five similar ships in the fleet.  They are 320 feet in length and have a beam of 68 feet with a hull displacement of  2,100 tons.  Each ship is powered by twin 4,000 horsepower diesel engines and they can attain a flank speed of 16 knots.

In comparison, the destroyers I served on thirty years ago were steam powered, 390 feet long with a 40 foot beam weighing in at 3460 tons displacement.  Their two 60,000 horsepower turbines could push the destroyer at a speed in excess of 35 knots.  We carried more crew members but far less vehicles…..we did have some very big guns on deck however.

There was little activity on Delaware Bay…..that is unless you count these escorts that trailed us astern for the first 30 minutes or so.

To Springfield-Pix #8

That is until they spotted the New Jersey’s sister ship, the MV Cape Henlopen in mid-transit heading the opposite direction.

To Springfield-Pix #9

The fickle birds then wheeled around, apparently deciding that it was time to head south back to Delaware.

Disembarking at the northern terminal in Cape May, New Jersey around 1345, Kit and I pieced together a variety of local and state roads through the Piney Woods of South Jersey.  In a few hours, we were crossing the Delaware River by way of the Commodore Barry Bridge and entered the state of Pennsylvania at 1700.

To Springfield-Pix #11

The view from the bridge was one of industrial grit and might…..the very same scene that is played out in countless large industrial cities nationwide.

To Springfield-Pix #12

Unfortunately this view is slowly diminishing as manufacturing of American products continues to move offshore.  Soon, images such as this will be relegated to photos in museums and Americans will no longer be an exporter of quality goods……pretty sad!  And to prove that industry and agriculture can coexist, here is a photo of a farm field just a short distance away.

To Springfield-Pix #10

A quick 35 mile drive to the north took us to our next destination, the home of my cousin Mary Kate and our campsite for the weekend.

Springfield Campsite

No sooner had Kit and I backed into the nice level driveway than my Uncle Don showed up and we were all whisked off to dinner at Cousin Joe’s pizza shop where yet another cousin and her daughter were waiting!

The Philly Byrnes, Photo #1

Such is the nature of this close family, gathering and celebrating at the drop of a hat!  Notice no one was wearing hats.

Cousin Joe has owned and operated Pacilio’s Pizza and Beer in Bryn Mawr, PA for many years.

The Philly Byrnes, Photo #2

The food is great, the atmosphere inviting and the owner entertaining…..what’s not to like!

Most of the crowd dug into Pacilio’s signature pizzas but I held out for their absolutely incredible Cheesesteak sandwich.

World's Best Cheesteak

It was without doubt, the best I have ever enjoyed…..and that’s saying a lot since Pacilio’s is located near Philadelphia, which is the cheesesteak capital of the world!  If you’re ever anywhere near Philly, take a drive out to Bryn Mawr and treat yourself to a cheesesteak at Pacilio’s… will not regret it!


Saturday, April 26 and Sunday, April 27, 2014-Springfield, Pennsylvania:  We always enjoy visiting the Philadelphia area and visiting with my mother’s family, and this weekend was no exception.  This large, close knit Irish Catholic, family is led by the clan patriarch, Uncle Don.

Uncle Don

Saturday is to be a special day as through some judicious sleuthing by cousins, Joanna and John in addition to internet searching by Katie and Owen, we discovered that my mother’s birth mother may be buried in a Catholic Cemetery near another cousins home.  As you may remember my maternal grandmother died in 1924 when mom was only 4, followed shortly by her little brother, Billy.  Oral family history has it that both Grandmother Marion and Uncle Billy are resting in a grave located at a very old cemetery in Philadelphia.  Now, to confirm that revelation and to search for the actual grave.

Most of the family gathered at Cousin John and Denise’s place and caravanned to the cemetery.  As we arrived it started to drizzle and we all spread out and tried to figure out the burial numbering convention used back in 1929.  After a period of futile searching, Cousin Pat flagged down a maintenance truck and asked for some assistance.  The gentleman was kind enough to interrupt his work day and showed us to a different section of the cemetery grounds where the gravesite was located.  This was a good stroke of providence as the grave had no marker!  A situation that we are planning to rectify!!

At that moment, as we gathered around the gravesite, the drizzle stopped and the skies began to clear, followed by shafts of sunlight from above.  Honest!

Holy Sepulchre Cemetary

At my request, Uncle Don delivered a personal requiem with traditional Christian prayers that we all participated in.  I then scattered some of my mother’s ashes on her birth mother’s grave.  Mom is now reunited with her mother and brother and has a presence in the second of three US cities that were important to her.

Returning to John and Denise’s home we enjoyed good food, good drink and great company!

On the return drive to Mary Kate’s we were in silent and contemplative thought driving through the countryside as the sun set in the west.

Holy Sepulchre Cemetary Roadtrip

I believe Mom is pleased with the way the family gathered to pay honor to her and to her mom and brother!

Sunday dawned bright and sunny.  Kit and I received a text from Alora, Mary Kate’s college student daughter….she wanted to drop by with breakfast and a visit before we headed out.

The Philly Byrnes, Photo #6

It was great seeing Alora and learning of her second year in school and her mom and brothers enjoyed the visit as well.

Today is perfect weather for a “Cousin Joe Field Trip”… adventure we have participated in before and one of the highlights of our visits to this neck of the woods.  While waiting for folks to get ready, Jimmie and I got in a little Nerf target practice……never know when Zombies may attack!

The Philly Byrnes, Photo #5

On the road at 1000…..Joe, Mary Kate, Jack, Jimmie, Kit and I made our way toward the little town of Ephrata, Pennsylvania and the home of the Ephrata Cloister commune.

Joe B. Road Trip, Photo #21

Upon arriving we met up with Cousin Pat and Don and headed to the visitors center for an introduction to this unique community and its way of life.

Joe B. Road Trip, Photo #11

In meeting our tour guide, we learned that this religious commune was started in 1732 by a German immigrant named Johann Beissel.  Dissatisfied with the established religions of the time, the charismatic Johann attracted other likeminded folks and started his own.  The monastic and celibate order had strict rules about life in the compound and kept the genders separate in housing, work, and worship.  They made their own goods and grew their own food for the once daily meal which was strictly vegetarian.

The self-designed and self-built multi story homes, workshops and churches were sturdily made with minimum ornamentation.

Joe B. Road Trip, Photo #4

Most were of pegged timber frame construction but several log buildings were built using a unique interlocking technique at the corners.

Joe B. Road Trip, Photo #3

Being on a guided tour gave us access to the interior of many buildings in the compound, such as the sister’s meetinghouse where Sister Kit sat in contemplative repose.

Joe B. Road Trip, Photo #8

Seeing the interior of the building gave one a perspective of how this community lived, worked and worshiped.  In addition it was possible to take in the view as the original inhabitants had nearly 300 years earlier.

Joe B. Road Trip, Photo #7

Other buildings still standing on the property were the livestock stables……

Joe B. Road Trip, Photo #1

… well as various outbuildings that history hasn’t recorded the use for, such as this unusual looking structure.

Joe B. Road Trip, Photo #10

The church doctrine was founded on the belief that Christ would revisit the earth, so the membership kept constant vigil for his arrival.  They did not sleep, but “rested” six hours a night on wood benches with wood blocks for pillows.  This rest was interrupted at midnight for two hours of prayer.  The austere life and separation from the secular world caused many members to leave the order.  However, others built homes near the compound and used some of the church’s facilities…..these associate members, many which were married, were called Householders.

The rustic charm of the compound is reflected (pun intended) in the original glass windows that let natural light into the buildings and likely provide a bit of airflow during the heat of the summer.

Joe B. Road Trip, Photo #5

As the membership died off they were laid to rest in the community cemetery.

Joe B. Road Trip, Photo #12

In addition, several Revolutionary War soldiers are buried here after being brought to the cloister from surrounding battlefields.

A critical flaw in the doctrine of the Ephrata Cloister was the requirement of celibacy as the community ceased to exist when the last member died off in 1813.  The property, along with the few remaining Householders was then incorporated into the Seventh Day Baptist Church.

Following the tour we visited the gift shop where I spotted this nifty hat.

Joe B. Road Trip, Photo #13

Thought it would be cool to look and act like a brother from the Ephrata Cloister until I was reminded that the guiding principle of the church was “celibate” and not “celebrate”!

After a day of traipsing about the museum grounds we were all getting hungry.  Searching the internet, we identified a highly rated Spanish restaurant in town.  Armoas Del Sur is owned and run by a family from Columbia and the menu reflects their heritage.

Joe B. Road Trip, Photo #17

The owner is from Medellin and has been serving fine Columbian fare in this part of Pennsylvania for the past seven years.

Being adventures eaters, we started with the recommended appetizer…..Empanadas, or Columbian Meat Pies.  Then for the main course I choose Bandeja Paaisa.

Joe B. Road Trip, Photo #16

This consisted of: Rice, Beans, Chorizo, Plantains, Steak, Pork Strip, Cornbread and a Fried Egg.  Unusual, but really quite good!

The rather buxom salt and pepper shaker you may have noticed in the photo above is a copy of a famous piece of Columbian art by Fernando Botero.  Fortunately, the owner, who also was our waiter, had a great sense of humor as he encouraged us to place the figures in various interesting poses.

Joe B. Road Trip, Photo #14

They were all very funny, but Mary Kate’s rendition was the only one suitable for publication.

Passing on some intriguing sounding desserts, we made our way back to Philadelphia by way of the Milky Way Farm.

Joe B. Road Trip, Photo #22

Where we were treated to freshly made ice cream which all enjoyed as the sun was setting on another great day with family!

Joe B. Road Trip, Photo #20


Monday, April 28, 2014:  After seeing Mary Kate off to work and the kids off to school, Kit and I hit the road at 0941 and headed west toward Souderton, Pennsylvania.  Why, you ask?  Well, there is another RV dealer that happens to feature an RV that Kit claims we absolutely have to look at… Souderton bound we go!

Around 1000 we rolled into the nice little town… that spring has come to as evident by the greening of trees and flowering of the dogwoods.

Road to Home, Photo #1

After an hour and a half drooling over some very nice rigs and meeting the staff at Fretz RV we were once again on the road.  And yes, we did indeed leave the dealership with the very same trailer that we arrived in…..but it is getting increasingly more difficult to do so.

Found our way to I-78 which we took east until coming to PA-611 which we used to motor through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.  Stopping for a quick lunch break at a nice roadside pullout we quickly relearned that the roads get pretty beat up over the winter and the rough ride translates to chaos within the trailer.

Road to Home, Photo #4

No harm, just a little straightening up and we are back in business.  Actually we have experienced far worse dishevelment out west while bouncing down dirt roads….it’s all part of life in an RV.

Back underway, we hopped on I-84 just south of Port Jervis and crossed into the state of New York at 1507.  Forty five minutes later we drove over the Hudson River by way of the Beacon Bridge and continued east where we crossed into the state of Connecticut within an hour.  We can always tell when we are in New England by the relatively small towns we pass through, each with their iconic church steeples rising above the trees.

Road to Home, Photo #3

At 1800 hours we moved onto I-91, then to I-84 which led us to the Massachusetts border which we crossed at time1906.  We then jumped on the Mass Pike heading east and the destination for tonight, the Charlton Travel Plaza where we arrived shortly after 1930.  Being a long day, it was off to bed early with the mesmerizing hum of interstate traffic lulling us to sleep.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014:  Up early following a cool but restful night we noticed evidence of a rain shower that had apparently moved through.

Road to Home, Photo #5

Since this will likely be the last day on the road for this year’s trip and since neither one of us wanted to deal with brewing coffee or making breakfast, I trudged into the travel plaza and picked out some breakfast sandwiches and large coffees.

On the road at 0950 we continued east on the Mass Pike which fed into I-495 until it merged with I-95 which we traveled toward the north.

At 1128 as we were passing Amesbury, Massachusetts we spotted snow on the ground!  Almost tempted to U-turn and head back south but we have some pretty important events coming up in a week or so.  Additionally, we are getting a bit homesick for Maine.

Crossed into New Hampshire at 1130, and twenty two minutes later we enjoyed this welcome sight as we drove the Piscataqua River Bridge.

Road to Home, Photo #6

Since we can never pass the coastal town of Kittery, Maine without stopping at the Kittery Trading Post we pulled into their ample parking lot and joined other returning RV’rs for some leg stretching in the world’s finest outdoor equipment store.  As we hiked from the outer reaches of the parking lot, Kit turned around and noticed that I had backed up to what she sees as a “right sized” RV!

Road to Home, Photo #7

It did look like a nice rig, but sure made our trailer look kinda weenie.  Out of curiosity, I took a moment to pace off our rig and the larger fiver to our stern.  Believe it or not, they were within a foot and a half of each other in overall bumper to bumper length!

After a few hours of browsing about the store at items neither one of us particularly need, we were getting a bit hungry.  This worked out well, as another tradition when we return to Maine is to enjoy lunch at the Weathervane Restaurant which is conveniently located across the street form Kittery Trading Post.

Road to Home, Photo #8

Possessing zero self-control I dug into a plate of their famous fried seafood on the fisherman’s platter!

Road to Home, Photo #9

That’s actually two meal portions folks…..but I turned it into one!

Following a nice relaxing dinner Kit wanted to go next door for some outlet mall shopping and I decided to see if there were any Geocaches nearby.  Turns out, there are a series of them up and down US-1 and specifically placed to entertain the non-shopping husbands of the world!

After a brief walk and an even briefer search I spotted this little guy zip tied to the middle of a rhododendron bush.

Road to Home, Photo #10

Logging the find on, I set out for the next cache when I received a text that Kit was waiting in the truck.  Next time in town, after I tour Kittery trading Post, I’ll have something else to do as Kit participates in her Retail Therapy!

At 1515, we were back on I-95 and soon started to see the familiar skyline of downtown Portland, which with a population of 66,000 folks is the largest city in Maine.

At 1656, we backed into our own driveway for the first time in five months and called the official end to Bill and Kit’s 2014 Excellent Adventure!

Road to Home, Photo #11

Using a nifty website I stumbled across, I decided to include a graphic representation of the states we have visited over the past six Excellent Adventure trips.

States Visited To Date on Excellent Adventure Trips

States Visited To Date on Excellent Adventure Trips

Of course many of these states we have spent considerable time in and others just a few days.  However all were interesting and exotic in their own way and deserve far more time to thoroughly explore.  We may never get to experience all the places we would like to but we are sure as heck gonna try!  Wonder if we need a newer and bigger trailer for that?


Now for some boring Statistics:

Length of Trip:  148 Days

Total Distance:  11,894 Miles

Total Fuel Used:  1173.5 Gallons

Average Fuel Economy:  10.2 MPG

Highest Gas Cost:  $4.10 in California

Lowest Gas Cost:  $2.94 in New Mexico

Highest Full Hook-up Camping Cost:  $53.42 at Oasis RV Resort, Las Vegas, NV

Lowest Full Hook-up Camping Cost:  $18.00 at Barksdale AFB, Shreveport, LA

Average Camping Cost:  $25.82 per Night

Freebie Camping:  19 Nights, “THANK’S FOLKS!”


Kit’s Final Bit’s:  The last week of our trip went very well!  It’s always nice to spend time with Bill’s family in Philly.  This time was special as we were able, with the help of his cousins, to find Miriam’s mother and brother’s gravesite.  She had mentioned the gravesite many times over the years.  We were never there with her, so, were unable to do it with her assistance.  As I watched the family scatter around the cemetery to find the grave, I knew Miriam was watching over us.  Then, after finding the site, the family gathered to pay tribute to our long lost relatives, and I knew Miriam was feeling so much better that we’ve now established this connection.  Thank you to the Philly Family for helping us accomplishes this!  Love you all!

Bill and Kit’s 2014 Excellent Adventure, Journal #19

Latitude: Wherever ••• Longitude: Who Cares

Latitude: Wherever ••• Longitude: Who Cares

 Every dreamer knows that it is entirely possible to be homesick for a place you’ve never been to, perhaps more homesick than for familiar ground.

 Judith Thurman


Saturday, April 19 and Sunday, April 20 2014-Cary, North Carolina:  This nice little town in the Piedmont area of North Carolina is the home of my cousin Billy, his wife Joanna, and their children Jillian and Aivan.

Byrnes in Cary, NC--#2

And, last but not least, the newest member of the family…..Rudy!


They were gracious in allowing us to park our trailer in their dooryard for the weekend which allowed maximum visiting opportunities while enjoying a nice place to camp.

Cary, NC Campsite

Cary is in the middle of North Carolina’s famed Research Triangle.  It is defined as: a scientific and technically focused community anchored by the towns of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill along with their associated universities.  Kit and I had the pleasure of meeting a few of Bill and Joanna’s neighbors and they were universally associated with the big names in technology, medicine and pharmaceuticals that dominate the region.

Bill, a neurologist, currently works in medical research involved in developing new medications/protocols to combat the age related disease of Alzheimer’s and conducting clinical trials on patients already afflicted with this severe form of dementia.  Joanna, an interesting and accomplished woman in her own right, is currently a stay at home mom but previously worked in the pharmaceutical field as well.  Jillian, age 10 and Aivan, age 8 are bright and inquisitive children and a joy to be around.

Kit and I really enjoyed visiting the “Rebels” and their delightful town of Cary, North Carolina.  OK, that takes some explanation… mother’s large close knit Philadelphia family has, for the most part, stayed close to home.  However, Bill and his family have migrated south of the Mason Dixon Line and are true rebels, in the literal as well as figurative sense!

On Saturday, Bill led us on an interesting tour of various attractions and historical points of interest.  One stop we enjoyed was the town of Durham, an old southern tobacco town which has shaken off its past and morphed into an upscale and explore-worthy community.

Durham, NC-Photo #3

The town planners have wisely left intact the various symbols of the towns past and have integrated these artifacts into the modern and cosmopolitan town that Durham has become.

Durham, NC-Photo #1

The family of Mr. Washington Duke, as early benefactors to the town of Durham, invested their resources from tobacco, and later electrical power generation, into a small educational institution called Trinity College.  As their philanthropy grew so did the college which ultimately became Duke University.  As a side note, our neighbor back home has a daughter that is currently the women’s basketball coach at Duke.

The income from tobacco started to diminish in the 1950’s due to increased competition and the burgeoning health concerns of the product.  So the trustee’s at Duke University persuaded the state legislature to purchase large fallow tobacco fields south of the city and create a “Research Incubator” to capitalize on the major universities in the area where newly minted science, technical and medical graduates were a ready source of talent.  This science park ultimately became known as The Research Triangle which was anchored by Research Triangle Park where currently 49,000 employees work on future developments that will improve the lives of every American.

Even though it was a rather wet and dreary day, Kit and I enjoyed walking around the historic Tobacco Campus of Durham and exploring all the sights.

Durham, NC-Photo #5

Wherever possible, the urban renewal to this historic district featured the homes and business that preceded it.

Durham, NC-Photo #4

Getting hungry, and a bit chilled, we stopped in at a popular local café and enjoyed a very nice meal.

Beyu Cafe

A great day exploring one of the South’s great cities with an accomplished and knowledgeable tour guide…..thanks Bill.

Back at their home, the family was preparing for a rather unique Easter celebration.  Kit and I were invited to join them in the decoration of eggs and other family activities.

Easter, Photo 31

Joanna is a first generation Polish American and is focused on keeping her culture and historical traditions alive for Jillian and Aivan.  A few years ago, when Joanna was working full time, she employed an au pair from Poland that spent her days sharing with the children her Polish heritage and teaching them the language.  Further amplified by Joanna, the children are now fluently bilingual.

One Polish tradition that relates to this season is the decorating of hardboiled eggs in the Polish style.

Easter, Photo #2

The technique involves drawing intricate designs on the egg using a pin dipped in liquefied wax.  The egg is then immersed in the coloring and when cooled, the wax is scraped off revealing the design.  My attempt at this intricate art form met with disaster so I reverted to my goofy style…..can you spot it?

Easter, Photo #4

Oh, and don’t be alarmed…..Joanna is fully aware she is tempting fate by putting all her eggs in one basket.  That woman lives on the edge!

Easter morning dawned bright and clear.  Kit and I enjoyed coffee and pastries as we watched the Easter meal come into being.  Soon it was time to eat…..and eat we did!  Following prayers, and keeping with Polish tradition, the meal began with Borscht.

Easter, Photo #5

Now, I’m not a big beet fan, but this soup was really very good!

The main course was an incredible feast of traditional Polish fare including, Bigos, Kabanosy, Cwikla and Pierogies.

Easter, Photo #6

Following the delicious meal, Jillian and Aivan joined the neighborhood children and participated in the seeking of hidden plastic eggs that were scattered about the neighborhood.  The entire day was a thoroughly enjoyable holiday tradition with family and new friends.

Other outings that Bill took us on were a visit the USA National Training Center.

Cary NC, Pix #1

This training and practice complex for USA Baseball is just a few miles from their home.  It is the prime facility for development of America’s Baseball teams which compete in international competition that lead to the Olympic Games.  Most summers, Bill and Joanna host players in their home and are rewarded with free passes to the facility as well as to the many intramural games.  Some of the baseball players being trained here will develop into the major league stars of the future.

Also nearby is the American Tobacco Trail, a 20 mile Rail-Trail that offers outdoor recreation to walkers, joggers and cyclists.

This 20 mile Rail-to-Trail pathway was built on the former American Tobacco Railroad right of way and is an incredible green tunnel to enjoy getting in a daily walk or bike ride.

American Tobacco Trail, Pix #1

Bill, Jillian, Aivan, Rudy and I walked a section of the trail while Kit and Joanna remained back home and became better acquainted.

American Tobacco Trail, Pix #2

In our travels, the one thing about the south that we noticed is that they relish and preserve their heritage better than most other areas of the country.  An example is Carpenter Farm Supply near the historic center of Cary, North Carolina.

Feed Store, Pix #2

It is a classic old musty hardware and feed store that has pert near everything needed to make do in this area of the rural south.  Put it another way…..if they don’t carry it, you don’t need it!

Feed Store, Pix #3

Built by William Carpenter in the late 1800’s, this throw-back to a simpler time has been in continuous operation by descendants of Mr. Carpenter ever since.

Feed Store, Pix #1

The gentleman sitting on the stool in the above photo is a fourth generation member of the Carpenter family and an interesting fellow to talk to.  Even though the place looks cluttered and unorganized he claims that he can find anything in inventory…..a claim we didn’t verify but I certainly believe!

Back in the bowels (no pun intended) of the rambling store sits an old wood stove that puts out an incredible amount of heat.  And sitting about the stove are usually a gaggle of local characters like old Charlie here.

Feed Store, Pix #5

A man of few words, he just tipped his hat and looked away as I approached…..probably pegged me for a Yankee right off.  I should have informed him that I too was reared in the south.  Southern California that is!

Also in the shop up front by the door, is a fully operational vintage pop machine humming away.  Put your quarters in the slot, slide open the tambour door, and then shift the now unlocked metal retainer out of the way to remove your frosty beverage contained in a glass bottle.

Carpenter Farm Supply

Now when’s the last time you encountered one of those?  Other than, in an antique store or museum that is?

Well, tomorrow we must mosey on but what a nice stay with a very nice family in a beautiful area of the country.  This was our first visit to Cary, North Carolina but certainly will not be our last!  Thanks folks, for a great time!


Monday, April 21, 2014:  Up early to clear cool skies.  After seeing Cousin Bill off to work, Kit and I visited for a while with Joanna, and the children and thanked them all for a very pleasant stay.

We got on the road at 1100 and headed to the northeast on US-64 until we came to I-95 which crossed into the state of Virginia at 1327 hours.  A few hours later we came to I-64 and headed east.  Soon, we were traveling through the city of Virginia Beach where we rolled passed Kit’s alma mater, Tidewater Community College.

This part of Virginia is called the Tidewater Area…..ever wonder why?  Well, for one thing the altimeter on our GPS shows we are currently at minus 11 feet below sea level…..and with this terrain and the geology of the land mass, the fresh water table is directly affected by the ocean tides.  Frequently, while digging a simple hole in the garden, Tidewater residents encounter fresh water just a few inches below grade.  OK, that’s not particularly useful information, unless you’re trying to dig a cellar hole…..but I sure thought it interesting!

At 1600, we arrived at our stop for the next few days…..Sea Mist RV Park in Dam Neck,

Dam Neck Campsite


Tuesday, April 22, 2014-Dam Neck, Virginia:  Today is a down day… devoted to laundry, correspondence, and trailer maintenance.

The weather is mild, being in the mid 60’s, and it is very windy… “perfect kite flying weather”.  So as Kit read her Kindle and watched the clothes dance about in the front loader…..

Dam Neck, Photo #4

…..I went exploring the shoreline with kites tucked under my arm.

Dam Neck, Photo #2a

Our campsite had perfect access to a very nice beach, and fortunately it was near low tide giving a nice flat expanse of vacant sand to pilot high performance kites.

Dam Neck, Photo #5

However, the tide waits for no man and I soon found my feet wet and an expensive kite getting dangerously close to the briny deep, so I packed up and called it a day.

Kit and I relaxed for the rest of the afternoon before enjoying a nice camper-cooked meal and a few adult beverages.  Then we drifted off to sleep with smell of salt air wafting through the camper and the sound of the surf outside our window.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014:  Up early to cool temperatures.  I took a walk on the beach and enjoyed the awakening dawn.

Dam Neck, Photo #7

Over coffee, Kit and I agreed that this is a very nice park and worthy of a longer stay in the future.  We resided in Virginia Beach during the late-1970’s and have wanted to re-explore some of our old haunts as well as investigate all that is new since that time.

As we are only 3 miles from Oceana Naval Air Station’s Exchange complex, and since we need fuel, and since I need to visit the package store and since Kit is in need of some serious retail therapy we pulled in for a few hours.  In addition to shopping, Kit and I enjoyed a nice breakfast in their food court.

Our intention for the day was to travel through Virginia Beach to Little Creek and then take the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (CBBT) across to the eastern shore of Virginia.


However, it’s still pretty windy…..checking the CBBT website we learn that the travel restrictions for our size vehicle kick in when winds exceed 40 MPH.  Currently the winds are only 17 MPH so we should be OK.  Which is good, as the alternative route would add over 100 miles to our trip!

By 1030 we were on the bridge and heading out to sea!

CBBT, Pix #9

Traveling from the south as we are, one soon encounters a large parking area.  This services a gift shop and restaurant located on the artificial island that supports the first tunnel entrance.  It’s a great spot to get a perspective of the engineering challenges associated with building this incredible structure over a huge and somewhat hostile body of water.

CBBT, Pix #4

See that object on the horizon in the photo above?  That is another artificial island that supports the far end of the tunnel……yep, the thing is that long!

So, why does part of this road dive 100 feet underwater at two separate locations by way of two separate tunnels?  Well, for one thing, a bridge would have to be massive to allow for the commercial and military ship traffic that needs to access Norfolk to the south and the Port of Baltimore to the north.

CBBT, Pix #3

And a far more important concern was expressed by the US Navy.  Any bridge could be put out of operation either by an accident or sabotage and render the massive Navy fleet homeported in Hampton Roads trapped and unable to put to sea.

The 23 mile bridge and tunnel system was built in 1965 and is officially part of US Highway 13.  Now, this must be a real problem for folks with number superstitions, especially as they enter the tunnels.

CBBT, Pix #5

Even though the system has been enlarged and upgraded within the past 15 years, the tunnel remains the same as it was built 50 years ago.

CBBT, Pix #6

It is a perfectly normal reaction to scan the walls of the tunnel for any drips of water or signs of decaying materials as one hurtles into the depths below Chesapeake Bay.  OK, maybe it’s just me…..but if I encounter a little Dutch boy with his finger plugging a hole in the tunnel, I’m outa here!

On this weekday morning there was little oncoming traffic, which is a good thing because modern trucks, RV’s and automobiles are much wider than in 1964 so the tunnel is a bit tight.

CBBT, Pix #7a

And soon, as you can see, we experienced a rare phenomenon…..the mythical “light at the end of the tunnel”!

Safely exiting the Thimble Shoals tunnel, we travel along the main bridge span until we once again head underwater and traverse the Chesapeake Channel tunnel.

By 1153 Kit and I were back on dry land and continuing north on US-13 traveling toward Delaware where we crossed the border a little before 1400 hours.

DelMarVA Road

This area of the country is known as the Delmarva Peninsula due to its encompassing portions of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, and due to the fact that it is a peninsula…..go figure!

Soon we rolled through the town of Girdletree (Yep, lots of skinny trees here) before hitting MD-90 which we took to reach US-1.  Heading north through Ocean City we crossed into Delaware around 1515.  A few minutes later we were pulling into the Delaware Army National Guard Training Base at Bethany Beach.

Bethaney Beach Campsite-#6

This base is a small training facility featuring a smattering of classrooms buildings and a nice little RV Park.  We had absolutely no problem finding a very pleasant campsite.

Bethaney Beach Campsite

The campground is situated on a salt water bay.

Bethaney Beach Campsite-#4

And, it was just a short walk across US-1 to the town of Bethany Beach with its shops and restaurants sitting on the Atlantic Ocean shoreline.

After a long day, Kit and I relaxed around camp.  We enjoyed an evening cocktail while watching the sun drop over a salt water marsh where wild sea oats were swaying in the breeze.  Ahhhh, another great evening in the life of a retiree!

Bethaney Beach Campsite-#3

And the perfect end to an interesting day on the road.

Thursday, April 24, 2014-Bethany Beach, Delaware:  Up to cool, clear and windy weather and we had to turn on the furnace once again.  Since we travel about trying to stay in what we refer to as “The Temperate Zone” we rarely crank up the heater… fact we have only used two tanks of propane during the nearly 5 month trip.  However as we crawl up the eastern seaboard we are outrunning spring and have had a need for supplemental heat most mornings this week.  At this rate, we may very well need a third propane refill before we return home in a few weeks!

Taking a walk about this tiny base it looks more like a college campus than an Army Post.  However it’s all military as each building is numbered and signed in military precision…..even this unique facility.

Bethaney Beach Campsite-#2

Hey, you wouldn’t want an RV going out in the woods!

We decided to spend the day a few miles north enjoying the town of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.  This is one of those places that we had driven through on previous Excellent Adventure trips and vowed to return and explore… today is the day!

At 1000, the wind had died down a bit but the temperature was only in the mid 40’s, so for the first time in many months I donned long pants, which felt pretty weird!

Pulling out onto US-1 and heading North without the trailer in tow, we crossed over the Indian River Inlet Bridge.

Rehobeth Beach, Pix #1

The bridge is technically within the boundaries of Delaware Seashore State Park.  This looked like a neat place to visit but unfortunately was not yet open for the season.

Rehobeth Beach, Pix #2

Arriving in Rehoboth Beach we found a great parking spot a block from the ocean, which we discovered later would be next to impossible come summer.  This quaint little seaside village of 1,327 year-round residents swells to over 25,000 during the summer months.

Rehobeth Beach, Pix #6

Even with this crush of tourists, the waters off Rehoboth Beach consistently rank in the top five for ocean water quality out of all coastal cities in the US.  Also, in 2011 it was ranked number one in the nation!  As nice as the area is, it dodged settlement by early Americans due to the isolated location and poor farming environment.  It wasn’t until the 1870’s when a few ministers established “Camp Meeting Associations” on the broad sandy beaches to lure the heathens from the big cities of Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington.

This laid back and quirky seaside village features an old fashioned wooden boardwalk that separates the town from the one and a half mile pristine beach.

Rehobeth Beach, Pix #3

At this time of the year, sunbathing tourists are few and only the very hardy attempt to wade in the chilly ocean water.

Rehobeth Beach, Pix #4

This incredible little seaside village has become a prime vacation home location and surprisingly, a premier retirement destination as well.  AARP has consistently ranked Bethany Beach as one of the top five US beach towns to retire!

After a thoroughly enjoyable day of perusing the eclectic shops and the meandering up and down the boardwalk, Kit and I treated ourselves to a nice meal.  We choose a waterfront restaurant called The Bluecoast Seafood Grill where I ordered the fried Oysters.

Rehobeth Beach, Pix #5

And they were some good!

Well…..I thought this would be the final journal of this year’s trip but I got a bit long winded.  We still have a week left with many folks to visit and many things to see.  Please stay tuned……the next journal will be the last one!  Promise!!  Well, till 2015 that is!


Kit’s Bits: For me, the highlight of this part of the trip was our time with Billy, Joanna and their children.  We had seen them a couple of times on previous trips to Philly, but never had the opportunity to get to know them better.  Bill’s “Philly Family” is huge and they always have some sort of gathering when we come through, which are always fun!  It was so nice to get to know them a little better.  They have a very active and involved life.  I also enjoyed our trek up the east coast, even though we’ve done it many times over the years.  It still amazes me how much open land still exists along this route.  Once again, each place we stop for a night or two, I could easily spend a week!


Bill and Kit’s 2014 Excellent Adventure, Journal #18

Latitude: Wherever ••• Longitude: Who Cares

Latitude: Wherever ••• Longitude: Who Cares

 I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.

Robert Louis Stevenson


Tuesday, April 8, 2014:  Woke to a temperature of 27 degrees and turned on the heater for the first time in months!  Yesterday, further south and a lot lower in altitude, the temps were near 90 and we used the air conditioner…..welcome to the environmentally diverse state of Arizona!

At 0906 hours, Kit and I are officially heading home as we roll out of Flagstaff, Arizona’s Fort Tuthill Recreation Facility.  Unless of course something catches our interest as we plow across the US, then all bets are off……we are so easily distracted!

Being as we are a good 2000 miles further away from the east coast then we thought we would be at this point in are adventure, the next couple of days will be all about making some miles.  Unlike previous years, this trip we have a bit of a deadline as there are three family graduations and a number of grandkid sporting events to enjoy when we return home.

As Kit and I travel east on I-40 through the lands of Navajo Nation we begin our decent from the lofty mountains of Northern Arizona and begin to encounter the desert landscape of Northern New Mexico.

To New Mexico

One of the few SOI’s (Stuff of Interest) we encounter today is the remains of the Twin Arrows Trading Post.  This beacon of refuge to the weary travelers of past formerly stood proud along the Mother Road, better known as Route 66, which is now buried under the blacktop of today’s Interstate 40.

Twin Arrows. NM

And, not to be outdone, a few miles further we pass signs for Two Guns, Arizona.  Coincidence?  I think not!  Two Guns is an old dilapidated ghost town, one of many that seem to be all over the American Southwest.  We’ve explored many of these once thriving towns and they are always interesting to poke around in.  Unfortunately, this one will have to wait until a future trip.

At 1210 we cross into New Mexico; then at 1323 we tip over the Continental Divide; shortly after 1430 we enter the Mountain Time Zone; and at 1700 we arrived at our stop for the night, Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque, NM.  Yep, all day on Interstate 40…..borrrrring!  But at least the campsite was interesting.

Kirtland AFB Campsite

Um, well…..maybe not!


Wednesday, April 9th, 2014:  Today is Kit’s Birthday and what does she want to do on her special day?  Go look at new (and bigger) trailers of course!  So after I do a few loads of laundry and make Kit a grand breakfast, then massage her back and coddle her to no end, we are on the road by mid-morning.  At 1100 we pull into an RV sales place in Moriarity, New Mexico and spend a few hours with Valerie the owner of RV Sales Moriarity New Mexico, which sells RV’s in Moriarity, New Mexico…..go figure!

Moriarity, NM

I was excited when I drove into the lot and viewed the antique “canned ham” trailer!  Wouldn’t that look way cool behind an antique station wagon or even a huge finned 1959 Cadillac?  Vintage car and vintage trailer would cost quite a bit less than a new truck and new trailer…..however the alimony would render that option far more expensive.  We had a great time looking at some very nice trailers.  All being longer and far more palatial than our current rig and all featuring a pair of comfy recliners…..Kit was in birthday heaven!

Back on I-40 and continuing easterly, we rolled through the dry, dusty, desolate, desert (say that ten times fast!) until nearing nightfall when we pulled into Tucumcari, NM.  Being as it is Kit’s birthday, I decided to stay at the fancier of the two available truck stops in town, The Flying J!

Flying J Campsite, Tucumeari, NM


Thursday, April 10, 2014:  The horizon clouds and penetrating sun welcomed me as I joined the bleary eyed truckers stumbling into the truck stop for coffee.

Flying J Sunset

After some computer time in the camper and a hearty breakfast at the co-located Denny’s Kit and I were on the road by 0930.  We continued east on I-40 until late morning then jumped onto US-84 and crossed over into Texas.

To Kyke, Texas-Photo #1

This morning we decided to make a slight detour from our intended route and head toward southern Texas for two main reasons.  Number one, Kit’s sister Char and her husband Don are at their winter home in Kyle which is just south of Austin.  And number two, it is currently tornado season and our projected path would take us right down Tornado Alley, where all the tornado hoodlums hang out!

As a side benefit, we get to leave the impersonal Interstate Highway System for a few days.  Kit and I truly do like traveling on America’s back roads as they provide much more entertainment value than the Interstate’s.  For instance, we would have totally missed Muleshoe, Texas!

To Kyke, Texas-Photo #2

Actually, we did miss seeing it as Kit was napping and I blinked…..oh well, maybe next trip through.

We did however encounter miles and miles of wind generating farms, which have replaced the miles and miles of oil field pump-jack farms which had previously replaced the miles and miles of cattle farms.

To Kyke, Texas-Photo #4

Patching together a variety of US and state highways Kit and I slowly meandered southeasterly passing through Littlefield, the hometown of Waylon Jennings.  Then we skirted the northern cotton picking (literally; look it up!) town of Lubbock, which was the hometown of Buddy Holly.  And, soon thereafter we encountered the Central Time Zone.  It is currently 1600 hours….oops; make that 1700 hours.

Being that we are getting into the Texas Hill Country, the scenery has morphed from western scrub to eastern forest.

Abilene State Park

It is hot, really hot….96 degrees hot!  No staying overnight without at least electrical hookups!  Fortunately we came to a really nice Texas State Park just south of Abilene and pulled in for the evening.

Abilene State Park Campsite


Friday, April 11, 2014:  A lazy morning of checking e-mail, doing some online banking and walking about this nicely laid out state park.  Since this week has been one of near constant travel without a down day, we have been delaying our morning departures in order to get in a little rest and relaxation each morning before hitting the road.  For instance, today, we were on the road around 1100 and once again connected a number of secondary highways as we made our way  southeast toward Kyle, Texas.

At precisely 1119, as we traveled through the tiny town of Tuscola, Texas a major milestone was observed followed by exuberant celebration…..well at least on my part.

100,000-Pix 1

Ah, the beauty of a well-used truck.  Hope I don’t have to get a new truck anytime soon, you know, to pull a new travel trailer or anything like that?

So overjoyed was I that I was able to see the odometer roll over to that magic 100,000 mile mark that I didn’t notice the fuel gauge was indicating low.  The DIC thingie (Driver Information Center) on the dash reassured me that I had 31 miles until we were walking.  That’s the good news.  The bad news was that the next town in this part of rural Texas was 30 miles away.  Pulling into Brady, population 5,001 I drove to the nearest gas station indicated on the GPS, it was closed…..out of business, as was the next.  Yikes!  The third time was apparently the charm as that station was open and I displaced the fumes in my tank with 25.6 gallons of fuel; That’s in a in a 26 gallon tank, in a truck that averages 10 MPG……double yikes!!

Reeling from that near catastrophe, we soon came across the quaint little town of Mason, Texas and decided to explore a bit.  Parking in the vacant municipal parking lot near the county courthouse, Kit went one way, and I the other.

Mason, TX-Photo #2

Mason, population 2117, is the seat of Mason County a ranching and farming area on Comanche Creek.  The town, born of strife during the Indian Wars, and the US Civil War as well as The HooDoo Wars is one of many small towns that progress has left behind.  Main Street, which doubles as Texas Highway 29, looks like a western movie set but is all real, with actual cowboys walking the wooden sidewalks.

Mason, TX-Photo #6

As Kit perused the many shops I walked about and eventually stumbled into the local museum which was filled with exhibits and artifacts from the towns early days.

Mason, TX-Photo #4

One of the volunteers on duty that day was 87 year young Patsy, a fourth generation rancher.

Mason, TX-Photo #5

She told an interesting story of a great, great uncle who as a baby was captured by marauding Indians and then raised by the tribe then indoctrinated in the ways of the Comanche Nation.  Years later, the young light skinned brave was spotted during an altercation between the Comanche Nation and the US Army.  Subsequently, he was located on the reservation and returned to his birth family.  However this Indian Brave voluntarily returned to the tribe that had nurtured and raised him living out his remaining years as a Comanche.

What a great town to explore, but we were to be in the town of Kyle by nightfall so we needed to move along.  On the road at 1613 we continued our travels through the Texas backcountry on two lane roads…..many having posted speed limits of 75 MPH!

To Kyke, Texas-Photo #5

And most locals exceeded that ridiculous speed by a good 10 MPH!!  However they were also very courteous… they came up behind our rig which was poking along at 50 MPH they all waited patiently until it was safe to pass.

We started to notice a lot of wildflowers growing alongside the road.  Kit tells me they are likely Texas Bluebonnets, planted by the highway department to honor Lady Bird Johnson’s effort to promote beauty along the roads of Texas.  At a rest and picnic area, we pulled in for lunch and to enjoy the countryside.

To Kyke, Texas-Photo #6

Texas is experiencing a multiyear drought but this particular rest area featured a nice little flowing stream……it must be spring fed.

To Kyke, Texas-Photo #8

Back underway, as Kit and I rolled through the towns of Fredericksburg, Johnson City and Dripping Springs we enjoyed the beauty of the Texas Hill Country.

To Kyke, Texas-Photo #10

At 1855 we came in sight of our campsite for the next few nights…..Don and Char’s winter estate located in Kyle, Texas.

To Kyke, Texas-Photo #11


Saturday, April 12 through Sunday, April 13, 2014-Kyle Texas:  This was a much needed couple of days of rest.  We enjoyed the Texas hospitality of Don and Char and also enjoyed some incredible food and drink.  As an added treat, Don’s parents and his nephew who live in the neighborhood stopped in for a visit as well.

The Crowes

It was great seeing everyone and catching up with what was new in everyone’s life.  Can you tell what is new with nephew Liz in the photo above?


Monday, April 14, 2014:  Well we were supposed to leave today but noticed this alarming sight on

Storm, 04-14-14

We are between Austin and San Antonio, or to put it another way…..between a very wet rock and a very windy hard place!  Red and yellow radar returns are Bad Juju!  Anticipating this, I had put the truck to windward so we could ride out the storm in the warm, dry and comfortable home of our host.

Crowe Campsite

Good thing we did as by mid-day the rain, hail and wind were at its worst and the storm toppled a number of campers in an RV park to the southeast.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014:  Kit and I hit the road by 0920 and where brought to a halt before leaving the neighborhood by these jaywalkers.

To Cary, NC-Photo #1

A gentle tap of the horn while inching forward only caused them to run down the middle of the road as if leading a parade!  Presumably, after making their intended statement that their kind has been in this rural area for generations and we have only recently arrived they moseyed off the road and glared as we motored past.

Threading together a number of back roads, we eventually found our way to TX-45, a new high speed toll-way that loops east of Austin.

To Cary, NC-Photo #2

The system for paying tolls is something called TXTAG…..there are no toll booths, just gantries with camera’s and sensors that one drives under at speed.   Not sure how we will be billed since we don’t have a TXTAG Transponder or a Texas license plate, however time will tell.

At 1045 we moved over to TX-79 and continued northerly rolling through a number of small towns.  At Thorndale, Texas we stopped for gas and breakfast at a local service station.  Homemade tamales and huge pastries were our breakfast of choice which we enjoyed in the cab of the truck.

Rolling once again, we noticed the roadside continued to be blanketed by wildflowers.

To Cary, NC-Photo #4

And, of course, dominated by the state flower…..the Texas Bluebonnet.

Blue Bonnets

Following a number of US and Texas highways we eventually came to the Louisiana border at 1646 and ten minutes later connected with I-20 which we traveled to the east.

At 1730 we pulled in to a nice campground located on Barksdale Air Force Base outside Shreveport, Louisiana and settled in for the evening.

Barksdale AFB Campsite

Wednesday, April 16, 2014:  Up to clear and sunny skies but with a temperature only in the mid 40’s.  Kit and I can sure tell that we are heading north…..hope spring catches up with us before we make it all the way home!

Maybe not…..we just received this photo of our home sent by our daughter, Kim.

Home with Snow, 04-16-14

Before this, all the tons of snow had pretty much melted!  However with predicted temperatures in the 50’s this too shall melt.

She also sent the following photo which was taken on our street.

Tucker Sign

I’m flattered…..however I’m also not dysfunctional enough to be in politics!  Although, some might disagree with that statement.

Leaving the campground by 0855 Kit and I were back on I-20 and headed east.  Three hours later we crossed the Mississippi River at Vicksburg, Mississippi and at 1557 we notched off another state on our march across the south as we entered Alabama.

Soon we were cruising past the city of Talladega, the home of a famous NASCAR racetrack.

To Cary, NC-Photo #6

And two hours later, tired and hungry, we pulled into a Flying J Truck Stop for an overnighter.  There were only three RV lanes and the outer two were already occupied.  In addition, the parking lots were full so there was very little maneuvering room.  However I was able to carefully back into the middle lane with expert spotting from Kit.

Flying J Campsite


Thursday, April 17, 2014:  Woke early to an idling truck and figured it was near time to get up anyway……that’s one of the hazards to freebie camping in a truck stop.  Also noticed that the refrigerator had an error code displayed and was not running.  First checked the propane bottles and they both indicated there was gas remaining.  Then rotated the DC power switch to the alternate battery which fixed the problem.  Apparently our original (primary) battery has finally given up the ghost after 6 years of heavy duty use.

Made coffee and we are on the way at 0810 continuing East on I-20.  An hour down the road, we noticed a sign for Cracker Barrel with the telltale symbol for RV parking.  As we had not taken time to eat, we pulled in and enjoyed a huge country breakfast.

An hour later, we were back on the road trundling down Interstate 20 and noticed a car hauler that was carrying an eclectic mix of used automobiles.  And some pretty high end…..such as that bright red Lamborghini.


At 1128 we crossed into Georgia and encountered the Eastern Time zone, losing another hour of daylight.

To Cary, NC-Photo #5

By mid-afternoon we moved over to I-85 heading north before crossing into South Carolina at 1602.  Two hours later we pulled into a nice KOA in Gaffney, SC and set up for the evening.



Friday, April 18, 2014:  Up to cloudy, but warmer weather and after breakfast and lounging about, Kit and I were on the road by 1100.  Continued on I-85 until 1408 when we moved onto I-40 and headed east.  Within a couple of hours, we were crossing into North Carolina, and approaching the town of Cary and our stop for the weekend.

I have a cousin and his family that live in this town.  Kit and I have wanted to stop in and visit for the past few years but something always came up.  So this year is the year and we are really excited!  Stay tuned for reports on a grand holiday tradition that I’m calling…..A Polish Easter in the South.


Kit’s Bits: Best part of this segment was three days of downtime at Charlotte & Donald’s house!  We always enjoy our time with them and with all the road time we have ahead of us, being able to lounge around for a few days with them is a real treat!  Thanks for letting us park the trailer in your dooryard!  Next best thing was browsing through new trailers in Moriarity, NM.  This is a family owned (for 30 some years) business and the largest dealer for one particular brand of trailers in the US.  We were very impressed with their business ethics and products.