Wednesday, April 29, 2009


What an inspiring factory tour this turned out to be. We weren't allowed to have cameras during the entire tour, so I'll spare you. However, I am going to post several motorcycle photos we took at the AACA Museum in Hershey. We were shown a short film, issued earphones, a badge and safety glasses and in a little over an hour, we had seen a very amazing factory. Harley Davidson (HD) doesn't have an inventory of product to ship to you. Everything is done by order - if they build 800 bikes a day, they have 800 orders. Just about everything is done inside - maybe a few things are sent out - like the trike is finished in Iowa, and custom paint is finished by an outside vendor. Harley has done business like this for years and have survived wars, the Great Depression as well as other economic downturns within the company. There are other Harley Davidson factories around the country - One day, I hope we might be able to visit their main plant in Milwaukee, Wisconsin - it would definitely be interesting.

On our way back to Gettysburg we decided a side trip to Hanover, PA might be fun. We arrived at the Snyder Pretzel Plant and went inside to make a few purchases. The factory is even bigger than I imagined - By the time we get to Hershey, PA there isn't going to be any room for chocolate at this pace. Tomorrow we depart Drummer Boy Campground in Gettysburg, and will be staying at High Meadow Campground, a Hershey property located in Hummelstown, PA - very close to Hershey.


The Natural Bridge in Natural Bridge, VA, is one of the 7 wonders of the world. This property was purchased by Thomas Jefferson from King George for his retirement years, and he loved to come over his from his home Monticello. The property was surveyed by George Washington (well known land surveyor) and his initials (GW) are near the bridge. The Bridge is amazing, but think twice about the long and tedious trip to Lace Falls. It was no easy trip because you are continuously walking upward. The main attraction, the Bridge, is a privately owned tourist attraction.

We passed something I thought was amusing - Foamhenge - a styrofoam replica of Stonehenge in England - in the middle of nowhere. Only in America.

It was a beautiful day to ride through the Blue Ridge Mountains to ride to Bedford, VA, to see the National D-Day Memorial. Like 11 other Virginia communities, Bedford provided a company of soldiers to the 29th Infantry Division when the National Guard's 116th Infantry Regiment was activated on 2/3/41. Proportionately, this community suffered the nation's severest D-Day losses. We were so impressed and touched and the trip was well worth our effort.

Another very important place that has been in Bedford, VA since 1917 is the National Elk's Home, where over 100 senior Elks live. The town enjoys how their Christmas lights light up so much of the valley by the home. It is such a beautiful place.

The Blue Ridge Parkway was part of our route - but we were on this road you couldn't even attempt in an RV! We did stop at Peaks of Otter on the Blue Ridge. We also stopped in Buchanan, VA for a realistic Civil War re-enactment. These actor soldiers were both northern and southern soldiers, and although it didn't happen at the battle in Buchanan, General Robert E. Lee and Traveller were there, as well! Swords, guns, horses, cannons - very impressive! You could buy just about anything you wanted to complete your Confederate dress or uniform. We met so many people from surrounding communities - one couple brought fresh water in a tanker truck from Blue Ridge, VA, because Buchanan water has to be boiled right now.

We have been so fortunate to stay in some beautiful natural settings on our way north. Both were KOA campgrounds - one in Fancy Gap, VA, and the other in Natural Bridge, VA.

Monday morning and we're on our way on I-81 - passing through Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and to our destination in Gettysburg, Virginia - our home for the next 3 days.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


We were told the best way to see Gettysburg would be to get on the double decker bus tour, so about 9:30am we boarded what turned out to be an incredible 2 hour tour of Gettysburg, the hallowed Battlefields, and a history lesson I had never heard. The entire trip was a mix of tour operator narration and dramatic presentation you heard from earphones at your seat. The weather was beautiful which really helped. The whole perspective was not from the idea of who was right - these thousands of men lost their lives for what they believed in - but in the end what was important was that they were Americans. In 3 days in 1863, 165,000 soldiers met on Gettysburg Battlefield. More than 51,000 soldiers became casualties. I hate to show my pictures because they just don't do justice to what you see - the enormity of everything. In many ways, it wasn't anything like what I had in my mind - it was so much greater.

We decided we would have lunch - an old restaurant called Dunlap's. Delicious. Just a hint of my southern cook came out in me. I ordered Chicken Pot Pie, which came out and was chicken and dumplings. Must be a Pennsylvania thing....but it was delicious. RV had a delicious Pennsylvania Dutch chicken caesar salad.

After lunch, we decided to go to the National Park Visitor's Center where we can get our NPS Passport stamped, and discovered that Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower's only home they ever owned is a National Park property. Hmm, another stamp in our book, so we go to this treasure about 5 miles down the road. DDE loved showing the property to international politicians and celebrities so that he could discuss important matters away from D.C. Everything, I mean everything, is in the house just like they left it. You would have thought they had left town and would be back shortly. You have the feeling of age, yes, but interesting to say the least. Gifts that had received from every country you can imagine. Especially from countries who appreciated all he did in NATO, Allied countries, and even countries he kept from the enemies in WWII - and Korea. Trivia: What other classmate besides DDE had no demerits in West Point, and graduated #1, while DDE graduated #2 in his class? Answer: George Mason (the founder of George Mason University in VA) By the way, the farm is still a working farm. Prized black angus are still being raised as are crops. You can understand why they loved this farm so much - a picture postcard. Again, our photos do not do it justice.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Just a warning...this is going to be a long catch-up blog. Go get your favorite beverage, a bag of popcorn, and we'll try to brief you on what's gone on since our last blog.....

Our blog had to come to an abrupt halt back in September...we knew we were going to help Harold, our son-in-law, recuperate from knee surgery; however, we didn't have a clue what would follow, so you'll have to bear with me while we take you down that precarious and bumpy road. More important, is that here we are, resuming our great adventure. The problem will be how to recall how to do the Blog, so bear with us.

After a painful and careful recovery, we left Harold in the care of his physical therapist and his parents, and, of course, our 4 darling grandchildren. Kristen was the cheerleader, encourager and head nurse - and did I mention she opened her second office during this time - but we did all we could, and then we floated on down the road in our coach - headed for a Challenger's rally at Camelot in Miramar, FL. This was the first time we had witnessed a spaceshot from Kennedy - it was grand.

Then we headed over to check out a motor coach resort we had heard about from our friends in Lake Lure, NC, called Florida Grande Motor Coach Resort, in Webster, FL. On about our third day of our visit, I received a call from my 89 year old stepmother, Doris, who had been physically assaulted in her home - in the garage - all for a few dollars - and that changed everything for the next 3 or more months. This was the worst thing that has happened in our family and we went to work to help her recuperate - something very difficult, much less for an 89 year old. To make a very long story a bit short, it was necessary to move her from her home for the past 45 years to a more secure environment. Everyone in the family was involved in making the transition as easy for her as possible. We were so blessed to find the perfect place, very close to her former home, and in the same general neighborhood. - and after so many prayers and the passing of time, she is so much better, and we feel things are getting better for her each and every day. We're ready to start planning Doris' 90th birthday party for 2010.

Doris has met so many caring friends who have helped her throughout this entire ordeal. Doris was right in the middle of "fruit cake" season - and if you know the Knapp's, you know what I'm talking about. If you don't, I'll explain...after my dad passed away, she continued to sell fruit cake materials out of her garage, not just to supplement her SSI, but to see her friends year after year, starting right before Thanksgiving. Trust me, people had been coming to buy materials like candied red cherries, green cherries, dates, pineapple (sliced and chopped) and the freshest Georgia pecans, whole or pieces, you could find anywhere - less expensive than just about anywhere in Jax. This was a ritual for the past 35 years - many of her customers either took their favorite fruit cake recipe with them to heaven, or they would bring samples by after they had baked their prize fruitcake.

OK, that's enough about fruit cakes! After this, we returned to Webster, and decided we'd like to stay here more often, particularly in winter, just like the snowbirds from the north. We loved the people, the camaraderie, and just about everyone was just like us - "plain ol', plain ol'". We enjoyed shopping in many areas we had never heard of - like Bushnell, Brooksville, Leesburg, Clermont, The Villages, Ocala - and many more. Florida Grande Motor Coach Resort is in a beautiful, low key country setting - in a prairie with a beautiful breeze blowing most of the time. We bought a large RV lot - and built a beautiful little Key West-style cottage for guests - next to our RV pad.

SO, in about mid-April everyone from the north starts making moves to get ready for their journey back north. I'm thinking, how are they doing this; it'ssnowing and the ground is still frozen up there? Yes, they should wait until Mother's Day; they know it, but they get homesick and they think they need to get back to their friends and family, who call them every day. When they leave, we miss them, but what's so good about FGMCR is that we'll see them starting September and October. Just like birds - showbirds, that is. We're less than 3 hours from our family and friends in the Jax. and surrounding areas.

Another issue happened at the end of December. I had surgery and contracted double pneumonia, and RV and I spent New Years at Baptist Hospital for about a week. What a relief to have those miserable days behind us. And then, another week convalescing in a local hotel because I wasn't able to climb stairs.

We felt well enough to make arrangements to go to Brooksville FMCA RV Rally (for those of you who don't know, FMCA - Family Motor Coach Assn. Rally). We had both volunteered to help in this all-volunteer rally. The weather was deplorable, and I couldn't get out of the RV so Bob worked for us both. We received word our very dear friend Nana Davis, 89 years young(Di Hope's mother,) had suddenly passed away while they were at Magnolia Point in Green Cove Springs. We were so blessed to have known Nana on her trips from England - and will never forget her. We were so happy to see all our friends at a reception that Di and George had for Nana at the Clubhouse. Nana would have been so happy to be remembered by so many at such a beautiful memorial service at St. Margaret's - no less by a Scottish bagpiper! George did such a wonderful job of putting into words what a special lady Nana was, special memories, and his love for her.

Our Spring adventure started with our trip to Fort Wilderness at Disney. We took Kenneth and Kiley - our 9 year old and 5 year old grandchildren. We had such a wonderful spring break with them and everything everyone had told us about the facilities at Fort Wilderness were true and maybe even better! The Hoop de doo Review was awesome, and Kiley was selected from the audience to be a member of the cast and play the role of a Texas Ranger. Both she and Kenneth were delighted when one of the female cast members walked over to Bob, sat in his lap and started saying how handsome he was, and an assortment of other cute things. They both laughed and smiled while she teased with PopPop. We returned Kenneth and Kiley to Green Cove Springs, ran errands, and headed to Stone Mountain, GA, for Easter.

Chris took us to the Atlanta Falcon Training Facility in Flowery Branch, near Atlanta. On Saturday evening we went to see the Braves play the Washington Nationals - the Braves won. Prior to the game we went to Legal Seafood in downtown Atlanta. Unfortunately, we weren't hungry for all that great artery-clogging stuff you get at a ball game! Turner Field was awesome and probably has the largest Jumbotron anywhere.

We went out of our way to eat at a couple of places suggested by Guy Fiery in Dives, Diners and Drive-ins, Matthews Cafeteria in Tucker, GA, and Silver Skillet in Atlanta, near GA Tech.

We left Chris and Lauren and continued to Freightliner (our chassis manufacturer) in Gaffney, SC. for our annual M2 appointment. All went well until we lowered one of the leveling jacks on a curb - bad move. The jack will be replaced in Kings Mountain, an RV service center; however, we went on to Lake Lure, NC, and stayed on Jim and Joyce Maddox's beautiful lot in Apple Valley Farm. We've had several interesting side trips while we've been here - Rutherfordton, Ashville, Hickory Nut Gorge - as well as Chimney Rock and Lake Lure.

One continuous photo shoot after another, and I'm going to try to remember how to post our pictures. Spring is beautiful and we've had the opportunity to enjoy it in 4 different places - Florida - Georgia - South Carolina and North Carolina - and on to Virginia and Pennsylvania.

We had a great visit with our high school friend, Susan Lohman Lanahan, and had a delicious lunch at the Hob Nob, in Brevard, NC. After shopping for "white squirrels", which is what Brevard is famous for, we traveled to nearby Pisgah National Forest where we saw several of the beautiful waterfalls, mountain trout hatchery, and Sliding Rock, which make Transylvania County, NC famous - thank goodness it is too cold to go in the water. Susan lives in a beautiful area outside Hendersonville, on a mountain, and we love to visit with her when we are in the area.

OK - we're caught up now. Tomorrow, we leave for Kings Mountain to get the leveling jack replaced (under warranty, thank goodness!) and then the wagon train heads northward. I'll be back in the blog mood....but we are headed to Hershey, PA, yum, yum! So, if you have my email address, or just leave a comment, send your favorite chocolate requests for your birthday, or whatever. We celebrate everything on the road, so I'm not saying the chocolate will get back to you in tact. There may be bite marks.....

We promise the next blog's going to take less time to read.