Sunday, June 28, 2015

Back Home in New York

Travel Day, Sunday May 31. 
Traveled from Marion, NC and Tom Johnson Camping Center. 
First stop was a overnight stay in Bonnville, NC at a winery from Harvest Hosts group. 
Next day we got back on the road and traveled to Salem, VA and a stay at the Dixie Cavens Campground.  We visited the Cavens at the campground. The next day we also visited the WW II D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA. 

We then traveled about 344 mile to Hambury, PA and a overnight stay in the parking lot of the Cabelas Sports Center. 

This Cabelas had space for about 50 RV's to park overnight. 

The next morning we were back on the road. After about 266 miles we made it to Deer Run Campground in Schaghticoke, NY.
 Schaghticoke was both of our home town growing up. We both lived and went to high school in this small town about 20 mile northeast of Albany, NY. 

This was our first stop back home. 
We visited with family & friends. The next day, Saturday, June 6th we attended Bonnie's 40th yr. Class Reunion from the Samaritan Hospital School of Nursing. 

On Sunday morning June 7th we moved up about 40 miles north to the King Phillips Campground in Lake George, NY. 
We are going to be staying at King Phillips till Becky & Dennis have the closing on our new home in Queensbury, NY. 
At that time we will be helping them with the moving in to the new house. 

Our next planned travel/trip is going to start in July. We are traveling to Bar Harbor Maine and than to Hopewell Care New Brunswick & Halifax, Nova Scotia , Canada. 
Then we are back home to Queensbury, NY for a few months. Have some work items on both the RV and a few things to do at the new house. 
We both have enjoyed spend time with family and friends. 
I have been playing some golf with by golf guy's. And just enjoying walking and hiking around the Lake George area. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Hiking Lake George: Pilot Knob

Last Saturday Fred and I joined our daughter Becky her husband Dennis and their 3 boys Freddy Liam and Rory for a hike.
Pilot Knob is not far from their home in Glens Falls and Becky had read favorable reviews that described it as a hike for all ages with a beginner to intermediate designation. The elevations in the review were described as gentle inclines and promised expansive views of the lake as well as a waterfall.

 Pilot Knob is part of the Lynn LaMontagne Shumann Preserve and is stewarded by the Lake George Land Conservancy. The land contains 2 designated trails. The orange trail has 2 marked routes to a Gazebo and scenic overlook with views of Lake George. The round trip to the gazebo is a little over 2 miles. The blue trail starts at the gazebo and leads to the base of a seasonal waterfall (about a mile) and then to the top of the mountain.

The day was sunny and bright with a projected high temperature in the mid 80's, perfect hiking weather.

We started up the mountain in good spirits after picking up walking sticks at the sign in kiosk. The trail is shady with a lot of ferns and patches of wild flowers. Freddy spotted a toad on the trail. We saw a number of woodland birds and heard some woodpeckers in the trees.

Parts of the trail were very muddy. It looked like the "Thank you Mom's" had recently been dug out to improve drainage. As the incline increased there were many rocks and roots in the trail that acted as stairs and helped to keep us from slipping.

By the time we got to the gazebo the twins were whining about Jello legs, Dennis was cursing the reviewer who promised gentle inclines, Becky was planning the rebuttal she intended to write and Fred and I were accusing them both of elder abuse. Freddy was climbing over the rocks like a deer, singing the whole way. Ii think he doubled our distance with all of the circling back to check on us.

The reviewer was right about one thing. The views of the lake and surrounding mountains were spectacular. We rested for a while and then decided that we had enough energy left to reach the waterfall. The blue trail is a gentler climb because of all the switchbacks, and the trail is drier.

The waterfall is a hidden gem. It is made up of several drops with pools that the little boys enjoyed playing in while Freddy led Mom Dad and Pip to the top. The rocks were moss covered, the water was crystal clear and the temperature was noticably cooler than the trail. The waterfall is described as seasonal as it can dry up in the Summer and Fall. We found it to be lovely in mid June.

The walk back down to the parking lot was steep and wet once we got back to the orange trail. It was difficult to find secure footing on the muddy trail. The left fork of the trail is definitely steeper.

This was not an easy hike but I am in terrible shape right now and don't have great endurance.  I would not recommend it for very young children. Our twins are 6. They found it difficult and are active athletic little boys.

That said we will do it again.  I want to go back in the Fall to see the colors

Addendum: Saturday was Fitbit Goal Day.  Fred, Becky and I were all wearing them.  Between the 3 of us we recorded over 40,000 steps and over 400 staircases climbed!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Congeree National Park: Hopkins, South Carolina

Fred and I left South Coastal Georgia in mid May. we traveled North and West though South Carolina stopping for a couple of days in Columbia.
On our way into the city we saw signs for the Congeree National Forest and decided to visit and do a little hiking.
South Carolina's Congeree National Park is located near Columbia, at the convergence of the Congeree and Wateree River watersheds.   It's 2600 acres of protected old growth bottomland hardwood forest is the largest in the United States.  The park is a wetland ecosystem. it is home to some of the largest and oldest trees in the eastern part of our country.

Fred with a giant Loblolly Pine

These giants include Loblolly Pine, Bald Cypress and Hickory.   other trees found in the forest include Tupelo, Water Ash, Red Maple,  Sweetgum and several varieties of Oak.

Bald Cypress and Water Tupelo
The area that includes the national Forest escaped logging in the early 1900's due to its difficult terrain and very wet location. It's significance was recognized in the 1950's. Through the work of conservationists and public campaigns it was designated by Congress as a National Park in 2003.
We enjoyed walking among them on designated trails that included elevated walkways and boardwalks allowing us to enjoy the peaceful old growth wetland without disturbing the ecosystem or getting our feet wet.
Wildlife that we saw included lizards, squirrels, and turtles.
Turtles in Weston Lake
Some of the trails and a portion of the boardwalk were closed due to recent storm damage. We could only imagine the destruction that must occur when one of those enormous trees falls.

We were able to walk the entire Lower Boardwalk Trail and part of the Upper Boardwalk Trail out to the overview of Weston Lake, then looped back and returned to the Visitors Center on the Sim's Trail. The 4 1/2 mile walk was not strenuous. it was a pleasure to spend the hot sunny day enjoying the shade and cooler temperatures provided by an ancient canopy of hardwood forest.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Naan Bread Recipe

Naan of the grill. Camp cooking is great!

This is the Naan Bread Recipe that Fred and I have been using since we have been on the road. It is quick easy and delicious. makes about 12-14 pieces and lasts 5-6 days.
We made this for a pot luck at the RV-Dreams Rally and many people have requested the recipe.


1 (.25 oz) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp milk
1 beaten egg
1 tsp salt
4 1/2 cups white flour

Add the yeast to the warm water and half of the sugar in a mixing bowl. Wisk lightly and let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes.
Add the rest of the sugar, the milk, egg, salt and 4 cups of flour. Mix gradually adding the remaining 1/2 cup flour until a soft dough forms.
Knead the dough for 6-8 minutes until smooth. (we use our Kitchen-aid mixer for the whole process changing from mixing to kneading paddle) Oil the bowl with olive oil cover and let sit in a warm place for 1 hour.   It should double in size.

Punch down the dough. Break off a piece about the size of a golf ball. Roll it between your oiled hands to make a ball. We end up with 12-14 pieces. Cover and let rise for 30 min.

Heat the grill to high.

Immediately prior to cooking roll out each dough ball into a thin oval.  Place on the oiled grill. cook for 2-3 minutes. You will see the dough become puffy and the bottom turn slightly golden. Flip and cook for 2 minutes on the other side.

Traditional Naan calls for brushing the breads with melted butter prior to cooking. We skip this step.

The Naan is delicious plain but you can add the seasonings of your choice. We have used at different times roasted garlic, dill, and Italian seasoning mix.

Have fun making your grill bread!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Dear Freddy Thank you for the Scavenger Hunt

Freddy is our 7 year old Grandson. He loves when I make scavenger hunts for him and his brothers. This year for Mothers Day I received this in the mail.   He gave me lots of time to complete it. Today is the deadline according to the instructions at the bottom of the page.
Dear Freddy,
Thank you for the scavenger hunt. I had a lot of fun following it and collected some really nice prizes.
Mim and Pip were in Florida in May. It was kind of hard to find a valley. Florida is very flat. We did find a sinkhole. It is called Devil's Millhopper. 

The sinkhole is very deep. Did you know that before the dinosaurs Florida was part of the ocean? Fossils of sharks and other fish have been found in the sinkhole. My prize is a very old fossil shark tooth.      

We drove for a while and got to Georgia. We crossed the St John's River and went to a submarine base. I got 2 prizes. 
The first one is a squished penny from the Tybee Island Lighthouse. i wish you were there to help me turn the handle on the penny machine. it was really hard.
The second prize is a pin from the submarine museum. It represents nuclear submarines. Those are the kind that were at the base campground we were staying at in Georgia.
We went to Paynes Prairie in Florida. It was kind of scary. there were lots of alligators and bison and wild horses.   Native Americans named Timucua  lived and hunted there a long time ago.   My prize is an arrowhead made of rock like the Timucua used for hunting.

Mim and Pip drove for a while and reached the  Congeree National Forest in South Carolina. In the forest there are tall tree roots called Tupelos. 
We walked on the path around the tupelos. There were a lot of animals like turtles and squirrels and lizards.  There are a lot of rocks there too. We found a pretty polished orange stone for a prize.

We drove for a long time up and down mountains and all the way home. I brought you a marble in your favorite color orange!

Thank you for sending me on a wonderful adventure. Can we do it again?



Thursday, June 4, 2015

Quilt Trails of Western North Carolina

New Star of North Carolina
While driving through Marion and the surrounding area I was delighted to see lovely art work attached to the outside of local landmarks and businesses.
It took a while to realize that they were quilt block designs.  We spoke with a tour guide at Linville Caverns and were informed that they were part of a  Quilt Trail that includes 6 contiguous North Carolina Counties.
I immediately began to collect photos of them to show quilting friends including  Aunt Millie, my Mom Ella and Fred's sister Nancy.
Linville Cavern's where I first learned the origin of the trail has 2 quilt blocks.

A Bat's Life block #128 features the Cavern and pays homage to the bats winter residents Pipistrelle Bats.

A Bat's Life

Underground Rainbow #129 is all about the near blind rainbow trout that inhabit the caves underground stream.

Underground rainbow

In historic downtown Marion I found Grape Basket #4 at the Farmers Market.

Grape basket

Handcrafted #8 at the McDowell Arts Council.


Pickin and Grinnin at Killough's Music Store.

Pickin and grinnin

Scales of Justice #18 at a law office.

Scales of Jusice

Futures dawning #113 is one of Marion's newest blocks and can be found on a main Street building that houses an investment firm.

Futures Dawning
A Bridge of Faith adorns a downtown funeral home

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

RV Park review: Tom Johnson Camping Center and Rally Park

Tom Johnson Camping Center and Rally Park

348 Resistoflex Rd.
Marion, North Carolina


nights stayed: 13
price per night: Campground $27 (Good Sam's rate)  Rally Park $25

We stayed at Tom Johnson Campground and Rally Park for an RV-Dreams Family Reunion.  We arrived early spending 5 days in the Campground and the remainder of our stay in the Rally park.

There are 2 separate parks in the compound. One is for Rallies and the other is a campground that seems to be primarily used by people doing business with Tom Johnson's Dealership sales and service departments.

The sites at the campground are adequate. There are concrete pads and full hookups. Tom Johnson's has courtesy Wi-Fi. Over the air TV is very limited.  There are no picnic tables here so bring your own. The camp store is associated with camping World.

There is a small Laundromat located within the Service center.

The sites at the Rally Park are level  grass with full hookups. We enjoyed a large open sided pavilion for group meals and spent each evening talking around a roaring fire in the enormous stone fire pit.   The Rally Park has restrooms and showers located near the Pavilion.

Tom Johnsons is adjacent to the Catawba River. There is an area within the park that is suitable for launching tubes or kayaks.

Marion is a small, historic town in the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina about 30 miles east of Ashville.   The area is beautiful with outdoor opportunities for hiking, boating, and zip-lining.  We were able to experience food tours and art exhibits in nearby Black Mountain.

We would love to return for another Rally. 

Addendum: While staying at Tom Johnson's we experienced a minor electrical issue with our motor coach. The service team was friendly, courteous and quick to diagnose and fix the problem.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

RagApple Lassie Vineyards

Ragapple Lassie Vineyards

3808 Rockford Road
Boonville, North Carolina

We had the pleasure of overnighting at Ragapple Lassie Vineyards on our way to Roanoke Virginia.   We were traveling north on I-77. The vineyard is located off of exit 82 about 9 miles east on route 67.
The Winery is a member of Harvest Hosts, a network of farms, wineries and agri-tourism sites that invite self contained RVers to visit and stay overnight for free.

Lenna and Frank Hobson were very welcoming and offered us our choice of places to park, including the concrete pad of their loading dock if we wanted to plug into shore power. We chose a flat level portion of their gravel parking lot next to a flower garden that allowed us great views of the surrounding mountains.  We could even see Pilot Mountain made famous by the Andy Griffith Show.

The farm has been in the Hobson family for over 100 years. Frank and Lenna began planting grapes in the Spring of 2000 in an effort to keep the farm a viable agricultural enterprise.

Fifteen years later they are bottling award winning wines.

The vineyards unusual name comes from a prize winning grand champion Holstein calf that Frank Hobson raised as a 4H project. The names Ragapple and Lassie represent the bloodlines of that calf.

We experienced a tasting and brought several bottles back to the rig to add to our collection.