Sunday, February 22, 2015

Lighthouse Adventure: Georgia

The Demilune protects the rear wall of the fort
Tybee Island Georgia is home to two places that we have wanted to visit.  Wednesday was a beautiful sunny 45 degrees in coastal Georgia so went for a drive through beautiful downtown Savannah and then headed to the beach.
Fort Pulaski was our first stop.  We learned that
Fort Pulaski is named after Polish Revolutionary War hero Count Casmir Pulaski, who lost his life in the 1779 siege of Savannah.
The same Count Pulaski is responsible for the name of Pulaski New York, a town near Lake Ontario where we have camped for many years.

A moat surrounds the fort and Demilune
Fort Pulaski was not yet completed or garrisoned
in 1861 so it had to be conquered by US forces before they could occupy it.
That battle is famous for being one of the first to be won by the use of rifled cannons.  Fort Pulaski had been considered an impenetrable fortress and the strength of its 71/2 foot solid brick walls supported by masonry piers compared to that of the Rocky Mountains.  The siege lasted less than 2 days.

A drawbridge and this door protect to fort

To get into the fort we had to cross a moat over a drawbridge and through heavily armored doors.

Walking out onto the parade ground is rather like walking into a major league baseball stadium...out of the building and onto a green field enclosed by walls.

We learned that soldiers played baseball here and in other forts during the years of the Civil War.

Fred was impressed with the sight of a heavy wooden blindage that was erected against one of the walls in an attempt to provide protection for the Confederate soldiers from heavy cannon fire.

It was in an area that would have served as the outfield during a baseball game so of course her compared it to Fenway's green monster.

From the top of the Bastions we could see Tybee Island and also the nearby Cockspur Island Lighthouse.
Cockspur Island Lighthouse

This tower has stood since 1856 despite Hurricane damage and cannon fire. It was extinguished by Confederate forces at the beginning of the Civil War and not relit until wars end.  Cared for by the National Park Service it has been part of Fort Pulaski National Monument since 1958.

Tybee Island has an interesting history.  Seven flags have flown over this tiny barrier island. Spanish, French, Pirate, Confederate, Union States and Georgia. The lighthouse first built in 1773 was burned by the Confederate Army in 1861. It was rebuilt in 1887 after the Civil War. The lower portion of the lighthouse is the original but the top 85 feet had to be reconstructed.
it remains and active aid to navigation.
We enjoyed our visit and climbed the 178 steps to the top the enjoyed a walk on the beach as well as lunch at the nearby North Beach bar and grill.

Tybee Island Lighthouse

Saturday, February 21, 2015

RVing Lego-style

We got a wonderful Christmas gift last year. Our Linehan family gave us Legos!
Fred had quite the time putting them together to create a motor coach.

The Lego coach has us traveling in style, drinking coffee from Lego mugs and carting a Lego canoe on top. We even have Lego life vests and paddles.
The little RV travels right along with us and rests on top of the GPS unit that guides us in our travels.

Thanks Becky, Dennis, Freddy, Liam and Rory
-Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, February 20, 2015

Travel Time

On Thursday morning we got ready to depart Camp Lake Jesper RV Park in Hardeeville, SC. 
Bonnie took the truck and drove to Walmart to get dog & cat food and to do some general shopping. (Yes we have to go shopping too)!!
I took the RV to Camping World to fill-up the propane tank. 
We then hooked the truck to the motorhome and off we go. 

So we had about 165 miles of a drive to get to Jacksonville, FL area. 
We are staying at a navy station campsite call The Pelican Roost Recreational Lodging in Mayport, FL. 

Because of the wind we had to drive a little slower on this trip. But we made it by about 3:30pm. 
RV is all set-up and we are good for the next five days. 

As you can see we have a nice site right on the water. 
And we see very large ship's passing by from inside of the coach. 

We both are enjoying the site. Have met a few nice people. And are enjoying a little warmer weather. 
Next three/four days should have nice weather in the 60's and 70's. 
So we will start to check-out some of the area in and around Jacksonville. 
Take care till next time. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Catfish Hunter Museum

Part of the fun of living in a Motorhome is finding little gem of places to visit along the way. As we were driving to the airport the other day I saw a sign for baseball player Jim "Catfish" Hunter. The area was Hertford, NC. This was Jim's home town.
As you can see they have a Museum for Catfish. So Bonnie and I stop by to visit the museum. But being a very small town it was not open. 
So we walked back to a small coffee shop. As we ordered coffee I stated to talk with the shop manager. He new Jim Hunter as just a nice person who gave back to his community. Jim help coach baseball within the town and at times helped towns people who had financial problems. He said Jim was just a great guy, not just a great baseball player.

Bonnie and I have already made plans to come back to Hertford on our next visit to the Otter Banks and check-out the museum of Jim "Catfish" Hunter. 
posted by Fred

Roanoke Island.

Roanoke Island is a fascinating place.
Fred and I spent an afternoon there recently while on a visit to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
We were familiar with the stories of The Lost Colony and of Virginia Dare since grade school and wanted to spend a little time pondering America's first mystery.
What happened to those 115 men, women and children who were brave enough to explore a new continent?
Why was nothing left of their encampment but a palisade and the words CRO and Croatan carved into neighboring trees?
The many theories include a massive Hurricane, severe drought and assimilation into native American tribes.
Did they move inland to find a more hospitable environment?
Were they attacked by Spanish explorers eager to claim the coast land as their own?
Did they succumb to a contagious disease?

There are many questions and no concrete evidence from which to draw conclusions.

Fred believes the Hurricane hypothesis while I prefer to believe that the settlers were adopted into Native tribes and became the first additions to the melting pot of our United States.

The story of the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island is retold every Summer in Fort Raleigh. The symphonic drama was written by North Carolina native Paul Green.   Entering its 77th season the production is performed in an outdoor amphitheater, under the stars, against the background of the Albemarle Sound.

What was new to us is the role that Roanoke Island played during the Civil War.
The quiet isolated life of Roanoke Island was changed forever when General Ambrose Burnside approached it with a fleet of 66 shallow draft boats and 20,000 troops in February of 1862.  The 2 day battle resulted in a Union victory, and opened the intercostal waterways to invasion by Northern troops.  The water ways provided a back door route to key southern cities like Plymouth and New Berne North Carolina and Norfolk Virginia.
Once the island became Union territory it's slaves were decreed Contraband of War and freed.  The island became a destination for runaway slaves from inland North Carolina who once they arrived on the island were declared freedmen.  
A Freedmen's Colony was established in 1863 to provide housing, supplies and education by missionary teachers to freed slaves in an attempt to prepare them to be self supporting.  Sadly overcrowded conditions, land poorly suited to agriculture and lack of supplies from the North doomed the social experiment to failure.
The end of the Civil War was also the end of the Freedmen's Colony as all lands confiscated during the battles were returned to their original owners.

Roanoke island is designated as a site of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.

We enjoyed our visit to the park.  We spent a beautiful sunny day walking amounts the Spanish moss covered trees and imagining the events of the past.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Before and After

Most of you know that when we left new York we were fighting subzero temperatures that didn't allow us much opportunity to settle into the coach.

Living Room left
Living Room right


I spent one afternoon cleaning cupboards and putting down non slip shelf liner, and had time to put away a couple of boxes of kitchen supplies.

The rest of our downsized belongings were stacked in boxes and bins in every available space including the shower.

By the time we hit North Carolina we had been in our new home for a week and things are starting to look like a house instead of a hodge-podge.

It has now been 3 weeks since we left New York and we are feeling very comfortable.

Living room into kitchen



Dining Room/office

Bear is getting comfortable too.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Things to See Along the Way: Grave Diggers Dungeon

One of the joys of leisurely travel is that we can take the time to stop and visit interesting things that we see along the way.
On a recent drive to the Outer banks we found Monster Trucks.

Poplar Branch North Carolina is home to Grave Digger, the most famous Monster Truck of them all.
There is a Grave Diggers Diner and a gift shop. You can even take a ride in the monster truck.
The Diner and it's outside attractions will open April 1.

- Bonnie, from my iPad
Location: Poplar Branch, North Carolina

Monday, February 9, 2015

Lighthouse Adventure: OBX Edition

Friday was a glorious sunshiny day so we headed back to the Outer Banks to see some Southern Lighthouses.

The Atlantic Ocean off of the Outer Banks was once known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic due to the numerous shipwrecks that happened along its shores. It is estimated that more than 3000 ships are lurking in the depths of the ocean in this 100 mile stretch of coastline. There are 5 lights located here and it was our intention to see them all.

Our first destination was the town of Corolla and the Currituck Beach Lighthouse.
It's distinctive red color and black iron work make it easy to identify since all of the other lights in the outer banks are black and white.
This lighthouse is 162 feet tall and has 220 steps to get to the top.
Corolla is well developed and more easily visible to sailors than it was in 1875 but Currituck still serves as an aide to navigation in the northern outer banks. It's light, flashing in 20 second intervals, can be seen for 18 nautical miles.
Currituck is closed to climbing in the winter months but we enjoyed walking around the grounds and admiring the Victorian architecture of the principle keepers house and the outbuildings that once served as housing for assistant keepers.

Next stop Roanoke Island. So much history here. We enjoyed walking around the waterfront park and had a great lunch at a local sandwich shop.
The Roanoke Marshes light is a small treasure that is located right on the waterfront in Manteo. There is a boardwalk that connects it to the pier and although the lighthouse was closed we were able to walk out to it and enjoy the views of Roanoke Sound from its location.
This lighthouse is a full scale exact replica of the 1831 original that was lost in the sound due to a devastating combination of sinking marshes, erosion and shipworms.

We left Roanoke Island and headed south into the Cape Hatteras National Seashore to visit our third lighthouse of the day.
Bodie Island light station (pronounced like body) is just south of Nags Head. It is a distinctive combination of three white and two black horizontal stripes. It is 156 feet tall and has 214 steps to the top. The light can be seen from 19 miles away and rotates once every 27.5 seconds.
The current Bodie Island light is the 3rd to service its area of coastline. The first was commissioned in 1847 but was abandoned after just a few years due to structural defects in its foundation proved too costly to repair. A second light commissioned in 1858 was destroyed by soldiers of the Confederate Army.
The Bodie Island Lighthouse keepers cottage has been repurposed as a ranger station and Outer Banks Visitors Center.

We would have liked to see Cape Hatteras and Ocracoke Island this trip but spent too much time exploring Roanoke Island and pondering the fate of the lost colony.
There is always another day.

Bonnie, from my iPad

Location: Outer Banks, North Carolina

Sunday, February 8, 2015

RV Life Lesson #2 Tolls hurt when you are driving a big rig

I 87 Albany NY to Suffern NJ $20.80
Jersey Turnpike $33.65
Delaware Memorial Bridge $20.00
Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel $31.00
Delaware Tpk Bridge $6.00
Delaware Route 1 $6.00
Chesapeake Expressway $4.00

Total $121.45 to get here.

Lesson learned new line item added to the budget.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Virginia Beach Virginia

RV Life Lesson #3 Advice isn't always right for you

We pulled into the campground and were met by a Camp Host who informed us that we could choose any site on the open list. He also notified us that we needed to plan our sewer hose hookup as the sewer connections in the park are located in the center of each parking pad. He suggested that we hook the hose up first then back in to avoid having to crawl under the coach.

So we did. Hooked everything up nice and straight and I directed Fred into the spot right over the top of the brand new never before used sewer hose.

The flap on the back of the coach that keeps rocks from kicking up didn't clear the hose and instead rearranged its location.

Fred ended up under the coach in the mud anyway.

Next time we'll think it through and figure it out ourselves.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, February 6, 2015

RV Life Lesson #1 Diesel Engines do not like cold

When people tell you that Diesel engines don't like cold they are not kidding.
Saturday morning we were packed up and ready to leave the great and freezing cold Northeast. The temperature was 7 degrees below 0.
The motor coach really objected to starting.
Fred started the generator and ran it to try to warm up the engine.
2 hours later we were still parked in Glens Falls with a cold coach that wouldn't start.
We called Good Sams.
They sent a service tech.
He turned everything off, turned it on again and it started right up.
He told us that ours wasn't the first coach that he had scared into starting, wished us well and we were on the way.
3 hours later than we had planned but still in time to beat a snow storm that would have delayed us further.
We don't anticipate having to drive in below zero temperatures any time soon.
Lesson learned anyway.
Next time we plug in the coach.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Glens Falls NY

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Wright Brothers National Memorial

We crossed one off the Bucket List yesterday.

Fred has wanted to visit Kitty Hawk for a long time. We have vacationed many times in southern Virginia and with each visit we discussed how close we were to the Wright brothers site. With each visit we decided that we didn't want to make the long drive and went to the beach instead. Spending a day in the water on Sandbridge is hard to give up.

Yesterday was sunny and a Springlike 53 degrees in the Outer Banks. We left out site at the Elizabeth City Coast Guard Base and headed for Kill Devil Hill.

We stopped at the Currituck Welcome Center to visit North Carolina's Monument to a Century of Flight. The Stonehengelike spires are made of polished metal. Each one commemorates specific events in the history of aviation.

The National Memorial is located 6 miles south of the welcome center.
It is a large open area with walking paths and a number of monuments. We arrived just in time to attend the Park Rangers presentation about the Wright brothers story. I was amazed to learn that these self taught bicycle mechanics solved the 3 principles of Lift, Thrust and Control. They created mathematical equations and a design that provided a foundation for modern avionics.

In 2003 on the 100th Anniversary of the 1st flight the National Park Service placed a geodetic marker next to the first flight Boulder to commemorate the 12 second 120 foot flight made by Orville Wright.

The Memorial is a large area that encompasses Kill Devil Hill. A large monument dedicated to the Wright Brothers sits on top of the hill. Our reward for climbing to the top was a spectacular view of the OBX beaches.

To see more photos of our trip to Kitty Hawk visit:

-Bonnie, from my iPad

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Virginia Beach Revisted

Two long days of driving landed us in Virginia Beach, Virginia by February 1.  It was nice to have a couple of days to get things organized.
We stayed at the Ocean Pines RV Park at Oceana Naval Air Station and chose a site conveniently located near a dumpster.

We spent most of the first day unpacking boxes and figuring out where things belong. I have had several "what was I thinking" moments as we got rid of pitchers, 2 large laundry baskets, a rice cooker and glass food storage containers. We filled the dumpster with cardboard and found  a DAV Thrift Store which took donations.  

By mid afternoon it stopped raining and we rewarded ourselves with a drive out to Sandbridge Beach.  
The FamiLee have spent many happy weeks on this beach and it was wonderful to visit and reminisce.   The area is much more developed now than when we first visited in the late 80's but it is still a beautiful place.

We drove down both streets on the peninsula reminiscing about all of the houses that we have stayed in over the years.  We stopped and looked at Spruil, the Lyons Den, and When East Meets West.
Girls the big dragon is gone. :(
Sandbridge Market is still thriving.
There has been a lot of work done to replace the dunes.  On the oceanfront houses they take up most of the yards and provide a barrier between the beach and the houses where there is no sea wall.  They are well planted and hopefully will provide some protection when the next storm rolls through.
The beach access points have been redesigned and made very accessible. They are well marked, paved, and have bike racks.
On our way back to base there was a beautiful sunset with pink skies fortelling good weather.
Day 2 was delightful as predicted.  The skies were clear and the planes at Oceana were practicing landings right over the campground.