June 2009
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The first of June found us back in our old "stomping grounds."   We had moved the coach to Cabela's in Dundee, Michigan and from there we drove into Toledo to run various errands and meet with friends and relatives.  Over our several days in the area we had great visits with Kathy and Dennie Dew, Jacques Everhart and Jo Gettys, Dick and Liz Lehto, Mary's brother Bill CLose and wife Beth, and Tom's sister Judy Kaminski and husband Ron, and Tom's mother Louise at the Spring Meadows Senior Community.   On the afternoon of the 3rd we moved the coach down to Toledo where former co-workers of Tom were kind enough to help install new coach batteries.  We weren't in desperate need of new ones, but our battery power wasn't lasting as long as it used to.  We didn't want to get caught boondocking with no power some night, so decided to do some "preventive maintenance."  The Bass Pro Shop in the Toledo suburb of Perrysburg hosted us for a couple nights as we continued our stay in the area.  Another item on our "preventive maintenance" list was four new tires on the rear of the coach.  We had put new tires on the front last summer and once more visited JAM Tire Service for installation of the tires and an alignment. (Ouch $$$)   Also during this week we realized that our in-dash radio/tape player which is also connected to our CD changer had quit working.  While Tom was supervising batteries, Mary visited a local auto-radio store to get some advice and borrow some tools to remove the radio.  The radio technician had not been very encouraging, but was willing to take a look at the radio if we brought it in.  As we used the handy tools and pulled the radio out of the dash it came blaring to life.  The wires were all wiggled and checked and seemed to be okay, so we put the radio back and returned the tools.  It's still working!
 
 

Liz and Dick had visited us in Arizona in 
March...and now "its all our fault".  Dick saw how much fun retirement is, so June 30 was his last day at work.  Congratulations, Dick!
Mary's brother Bill and wife Beth met us in her new Ford Escape.  We enjoyed a great dinner and visit.
Tom's sister, Judy and her husband Ron met us for dinner another night...and another good visit.
Here's where they go....Tom supervised the installation of four new batteries in the coach.

We had started our problems with Direct TV last month.  Tom spent many hours on the phone with their Tech Support people and we'd made several trips to Best Buy outlets in several states trying to solve our problems finding the correct kind of receiver that would work with our system.  We received shipments from Direct TV in Branson, MO and Jackson, MI and several other shipments went to the wrong places.  We rescued our final shipment from Direct TV at the Fed Ex office in Toledo after they called our phone number and asked if we knew anything about the box that had our name and number on it along with a fictitious address.  We hooked up the new receiver, called to get it activated and we had satellite TV again after three weeks of issues.  Then we moved the coach to its next location.  Oooops!  No connection.   More calls, more hassle.  We were told that in order to get satellite reception we would have to call Direct TV Tech Support each time we moved the coach.  Finally, after several more moving days and calls we got a tech rep that said I know exactly what you need to do each time you move...and he was right.  Obviously, all the other tech reps missed that lesson!  We've been enjoying satellite TV ever since with no problems.

From the Toledo area we headed southeast through Ohio, spending a night at the Circleville Walmart and then on to Rio Grande.  Rio Grande (pronounced "Rie-oh Grand") is the home of the Bob Evans Farms started by entrepreneur and farmer Bob Evans and his wife Jewell.  They became famous for their home-made sausage and as their business grew they invited people to stop by their farm.  Eventually they opened a restaurant in front of their home, which is still in operation.  The Evans home is now a museum chronicling the story of the Bob Evans business.  The farm property also has several large display barns, a lively honey bee operation, a sorghum mill, barnyard animals, a log cabin village and a campground.   A large festival is held there every fall.  We were the only residents of the campground and it is not really a "big rig friendly" place.  Since it was empty, we had the luxury of picking the best spot and being able to maneuver into and out of it.
 
 

Bob Evans Farms restaurant #1 - Rio Grande, OH
The Bob Evans Homestead - now a museum
On display at the Bob Evans Farms is a collection of decorated Stetson hats - one from the Farm Bureau in each of Ohio's 88 counties.

After several days in southeast Ohio we headed into West Virginia and down to Fayetteville on the New River.  Our son Reid has come to the area the last several years in the late summer to do whitewater rafting on the New River and the Gauley River.  Last fall at the end of "the season" Reid decided to stay in West Virginia and work with some entrepreneurs starting a "digital marketing" company.  He has had a busy and interesting winter and we were pleased to meet his co-workers and see his new surroundings.  Reid showed us the facilities where he has worked as a raft guide and also the beautifully restored building where the WELD (www.weldtheweb.com)  offices are located.   We enjoyed some tasty meals at some of his favorite places in the area and shared in the birthday celebration of his roomie and co-worker, Brandon Holmes.  While Reid was working during the day, we visited several local attractions.  The National Park Service Visitor Center at the New River Gorge highlighted life in the area which was considered inaccessible until the railroad came to the area in 1873.  Even then, life in the wooded mountains was not easy.  Coal mines and coal towns flourished and then died out.  Today the area is highly regarded for its recreational opportunities and many of the small towns are building reputations as arts and business centers.  We also visited the Hawks Nest State Park, Summersville Lake and some Civil War battle sites.
 
 

The New River in West Virginia as seen from the Class VI Rafting Company vantage point.
The New River Gorge Bridge stands 850+ feet above the river.  On the third Saturday in October of each year people are allowed to jump from the bridge.
The old bridge across the New River Gorge has been refurbished and is still in use...but it took us an hour to drive the narrow, winding and now one-way road down, across, and back up to the top.
The Summersville Dam was built by the US Army Corp of Engineers in the 1960s to harness flooding on the New River in West Virginia.  This is where water is released periodically in the fall providing great rafting.
Mom and Dad with son Reid in Fayetteville, West Virginia

From West Virginia we headed across part of Maryland and then north into Pennsylvania and to Gettysburg.  On our way across Maryland we stopped at a rest area.  A caravan of family vehicles pulled in next to us and took time to exercise their pets and have some snacks.  We watched with curiosity as they maneuvered their SUV over to the curb and with great effort removed a large cage from the rear.  What we thought might be a very large dog turned out to be a pot-bellied pig.  They had quite a time playing with the animal and an even more amusing time getting it back into its cage and into the SUV.  The group also had four horses and three dogs in their party of nine humans.        In Gettysburg, we checked into the Artillery Ridge Campground and our first priority was a get-together with friends Rich and Diane Emond who were staying in a nearby campground.  Rich and Diane were some of the first full-timers we met when we first hit the road in 2000 and we have enjoyed crossing paths with them several times over the last nine years.  This visit was no exception and we had a great time sharing travel stories, maintenance tips and checking out the changes in each others rigs.  We were sorry to have only one day together before they were on the road to upstate New York.  We'd been to Gettysburg in the past and weren't planning a complete tour, but were very impressed with the new National Park Visitor Center.  Its presentations and displays were well worth our visit.  The campground we stayed in is also home to a National Riding Stable...we could have taken a battlefield tour by horseback or brought our own horses.


Here, Piggy Piggy!
Rich and Diane Emond also have a Dutch Star and started their full-time adventure from the Atlanta area a few months ahead of us..

On June 16 we continued a bit further north in Pennsylvania and "finally ! " (according to our three granddaughters) arrived at the J&D Campground near Elysburg, just five miles from our daughter's home.  We had stayed here last summer and really like the well-maintained park.  There are many seasonal sites here, but also a large section for the more short term visitors.  Because we are also near a large amusement park, the campground is a very busy place and has few empty spaces, especially on weekends.  Of course, we got right into a schedule of activities revolving around the McCurdy's schedule.  Merrick and Close were attending an art camp at their school which is right next to the campground.  Close and Coffey have been playing softball, so there were two teams to follow.  Coffey is taking dance and oboe lessons.  All three girls are "working" at the apartment complex where Ann is the manager doing some light cleaning.  So, we have helped out as transportation providers.  We have enjoyed making S'mores in the backyard fire pit and helping with a few chores around the house.  We've also ventured out a few times...we took a paddleboat trip on the Susquehanna River, spent a few hours at the amusement park, and spent a gorgeous afternoon hiking in the Rickett's Glen State Park to see just a few of the many waterfalls in the park.  In between rainstorms the girls have also taken advantage of the campground swimming pool.
 
 

"The Hiawatha" riverboat is anchored in Williamsport, PA and took us on a scenic and historical tour along the Susquehanna River.
The happy passengers...Coffey, Ann, Merrick, Mary, Close and Tom
Grandpa, Close and Coffey had some great moments on the giant swinging boat, "The Galleon" at Knoebel's Grove Amusement Park
Merrick and Grandma weren't so sure it was 
a fun time!
Rickett's Glen State Park was our outing on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon.  We hiked about three miles (uphill BOTH ways!) through a beautiful mountain forest.
There are 21 waterfalls in the park, but we saw only 5 of them on our portion of the trail.  We had a great time with Matt and Ann and the girls.

On the last night of June we had another of our now usual rainstorms.  After the rain stopped we went outside to play some games and found a beautiful rainbow.  And while retrieving a ball from the plum tree we noticed that the baby robin eggs we had spied the other day had now hatched.



 
 

It looked like the "Pot-of-Gold" should have been right behind the neighbor's house!
New residents right at the front of the house...we think they were hungry!

 

It looks like the rest of our stay in Elysburg will continue to be full of activity and we know it will go very quickly.  Our plans are to be back on the
road in mid-July heading through Ohio and to points west.