On the Road to Alaska

On the Road to Alaska
Denali from the Air

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

On the Road again…..

We arrived home safely and set up housekeeping right away. As many things to do when we get home as when we leave. Turn the phone, internet, Direct TV, etc. Then uncover and dust everything. Make sure my car will run (it wouldn’t). Keith had to come over and do a temporary fix to the shift cable. Anyway, we were home and busy with domestic tasks such as cleaning windows, mowing grass, filling the hot tub and such. First weekend home we went to King of Prussia for Matthew’s first communion.

Mid June we fired up the RV and headed north to a  Chapter 3 Rally. We went to breakfast with the Northeast Bradford Retired group and then came home to finish packing. We did not head out until afternoon because we did not plan to go all the way to New Hampshire in one day. We easily traveled to the Albany area and spent the night in a large, spacious Wal Mart. We have been there before. On Wednesday morning we headed out to Hancock NH to the Seven Maples Campground. We were the first to arrive, so we had our pick of the sites in the rally field. Nice campground and set up but the roads were poor. Throughout the day several other campers arrived. We went to dinner at the Hancock Inn.

Saturday morning several people walked into town to visit the local farmer’s market. Here are some pictures of downtown Hancock NH.



New Hampshire is a beautiful state.

We had Social Hours, campfires and lots of fun.



On Sunday morning we drove over to Derry NH to visit with Phil’s sister, Dotty. Later in the day Norman and Dianne joined us. We had a great visit with everyone and headed home on Tuesday morning. We ran into some rain, but it was an uneventful trip home, which is what we enjoy!

Friday, May 11, 2012


We left Marion NC and headed north into Virginia fairly soon. We needed diesel fuel and it was considerably cheaper in Virginia than in North Carolina. We had a long day of travel and found a nice Army Corps of Engineers Park to spend the night. Monday was a short drive over to Chesapeake. Of course, traffic gets heavier when you approach an urban area like Chesapeake. We found the campground and set up easily in a pull-thru site. We are fortunate that there is a campground very near the development where Craig and Denise live.
After setting up, we headed over to see Craig and the kids. We had a very nice visit with them. Around 7:30 PM Denise got home from work and we had a lovely dinner with them. We left for the evening pretty soon after that, we were tired and we could see that Denise was really tired after a 12 hour shift. We spent the day on Tuesday visiting with Craig and then the kids. I needed to get some pictures of the kids with Fat Emily. A few years ago we did a similar project with Flat Matthew. This is a kindergarten project that Bryan’s kids need to do. Their shadow, or flat person is sent to a family member and asked to take pictures and write a journal before sending it back to school. So, I had printed a picture of Emily’s face and dressed her in a Barbie dress so that she was ready to have her picture taken with her cousins.
On Wednesday Denise had the day off. So the four of us went out for lunch. That was a treat for all of us. Later in the day we all went out to dinner at Friendly’s. The kids ate really well and a fun time was had by all. Before we headed home for the night we played a game of Five Crowns. Craig beat us all, hands down.
It was a two day trip from Chesapeake VA to home in the RV. Traffic on the beltway around Washington DC was not a pleasant experience, but we made it through with no problems. We stopped at the PA border to spend the night before finishing our journey on Friday. It has been over five months since we left home and it is good to be home again.
There is much to do at first, getting the telephone, internet, mail, Direct TV and such all back up and working. We spent our first night home still in the RV as it takes time to get the water system up and running again and the tubes for the water bed filled. Keith and Shannon came over Friday evening and we were glad to see them again and catch up on news.
Flat Emily made her trip over to her Warren Center cousins and visited.
IMG_4290  IMG_4291
                                               Look how tall the boys are!!
The next weekend we headed out again, this time by truck. Matthew was making his first communion on Saturday. So we drove down on Friday and spent most of the weekend in King of Prussia. The kids are really growing very fast!
Emily was excited to see Flat Emily again and we got to take some pictures of Flat Emily with her other cousins.
Then Janine dug out Flat Matthew and we were able to take a picture of the two of them together! Neat way to end that story.
So, Sunday morning we headed home again. We don’t have any more travel plans set until we travel to Hancock NH in early June to VCR a Chapter 3 rally. We’ll post some pictures and information after that trip.

SKP ACRE APRIL 12-22 2012


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The third annual SKP ACRE was a resounding success. We had a 161 Rigs attending with a

total of 261 people. Everyone had a great time. The rally took place at Tom Johnson's Rally Park in Marion NC from April 15-22, 2012. The SOLOS had a pre-rally from April 15-17 with between 20-25 rigs attending. Chapters 16, 20 and 29 combined their Spring Rally with ours, and the Heavy Haulers BOF were there for a Roundup.

Daily social hours were well attended as were the catered dinners and pot lucks. We had great breakfasts with Betty Bear serving her famous biscuits and gravy and we had omelets in a bag another morning. No one went away hungry!

Participants were treated to great entertainment. Terry McKinney and his band returned for a second year and Tom Sparks provided some great Appalachian Music. Overmountain Victory from the National Park Service presented their program about the American Revolution moving south. It certainly got our attention when they started demonstrating their black powder rifles!! Tom Johnson again provided with a great bonfire. The closing ceremony was an encore presentation of 'The Many Faces of Old Glory', which is always a moving experience.

Mark Nemeth was there with the Escapee's Smart Weigh program. Mark and his crew were busy weighing rigs before and after the rally. Mark also presented seminars on RV weight, as well as RV water and electrical systems. Quilters, crafters, DOVES, genealogy, computers, and solar technology were also popular seminars. Whew! We had a busy week!

Chapter 29 hosted auctions for CARE that netted $2,000+. $145 was donated from the Solo’s, and a $1,000 from the SKP ACRE committee.

So, make your plans now and mark your calendars. The next SKP ACRE event will take place in 2013 from April 21st through April 30th. Advance people can arrive on Sunday the 21st and the official arrival day will be Monday the 22nd. The rally will end on Sunday April 28th. See ya there!


Skp Acre Yellow

April to May ` Going Toward Home Again

After the Chapter 26 Rally in Biloxi Mississippi, we headed to Natchez, one of our favorite cities. Since it has been such a mild winter, most of their beautiful azalea had already bloomed.

However, we still enjoyed driving around this beautiful city. We did take a trip to the Stanton House Restaurant for lunch one day.


The lunch was unexceptional, but the surroundings were great. I did walk through The Silver Chest, which is a store filled with antique silverware and jewelry. My husband only allowed a very quick walk through.

Some pretty alarming winds and thunder and lightning storms passed through. Luckily there was no damage, but we were cautious enough to bring in all the awnings and to keep a sharp eye out….

The people in the site next to us were towed in on Sunday and were repaired very early on Monday morning. We discovered that they were fellow Escapees and own a lot in Hondo TX. Peggy and Mike Koehler also have a blog of their RV travels, check it out at http://koehlerskaravan.blogspot.com/. We enjoyed a Social Hour with them one evening.

From Natchez we headed north up the Natchez Trace Parkway. This is also one of our favorite drives. We stopped for two nights at the free campground that is about half way up the trace. We did not have any problem finding room at the Jeff Busby State Park. We stayed for two nights, boondocking. This gave us time to rest, relax and get our 2011 taxes done and mailed. We had prepaid our Pennsylvania taxes, and overpaid. We needed to pay the Federal Government. Between the two, it came out about even. Done for another year.

IMG_4191This was a rig that was sharing the park with us. What a sight to behold!

We finished the Trace and stopped one night before getting to Tennessee. We arrived safely at the Overnighter Campground in Athens to spend a few days with our friend Pat Martin. We had a nice visit with her. On Wednesday we traveled up the mountain to Crossville TN. This is a town that was created in the depression era. FDR spearheaded this project. People were chosen to help build their home from native materials and then to move in and work the farm. They slowly paid of their debt with the profits from their farm. Many of these 250+ homes are still owned by descendants of the original owners.


We toured the museum and Phil walked to the top of the water tower to take  pictures. IMG_4202IMG_4206


Unfortunately, when we attempted to leave Thursday morning, the RV would start but the started would not disengage. After fighting with it for a while, Phil went in search of an RV Tech. Well, he couldn’t fix it or repair it. When the starter did finally disengage, the consensus was that we should travel to our next destination and NOT shut the engine off until we arrived. This worked for us, we only needed to travel about four hours away to Marion NC, to the SKP ACRE rally. The rally was being held at Tom Johnson’s Rally Park and they have a large repair facility. So, off we went. We arrived without mishap.

It was great to be at SKP ACRE and see many of our Escapee friends. Phil was busy with the parking. I helped with registration and presented two computer seminars. It was a very busy ten days. I will post the Rally Report that I wrote for the Escapees Magazine as my next post.

Friday, March 30, 2012

     Well, we are approaching the end of March and our time at Rainbow Plantation. It has been a busy month, and the weather finally turned really nice. We had many beautiful sunny days. The spring flowers are all in bloom, the grass is green and the mockingbirds keep us entertained.

       Phil has spent a lot of time working on his tractor engine with Jon LaPointe. There were a few setbacks and interesting turns, but the engine was finally declared 'Done' and reloaded into the truck. We really appreciate the space, help and advice that Jon provided to Phil. This is only the beginning. When we get home there will be more work to do in restoring the old faithful Ford 8N into running condition. However, having the engine rebuilt is a giant step forward. Every now and again Phil would join the Tractor Group with a tractor parade around the park.

    I kept busy with beading, jewelry making and quilting a jacket. In between all of that, we visited with friends, played cards, ate out, went to ice cream socials and so on. It is a tough life, but someone has to do it!
    A few days before we left Summerdale, we traveled back down to Billy's Seafood to stock up on shrimp. Phil bought about five pounds. Billy's cooked them for us and then we brought them home and peeled them all. This is what five pounds looks like, all peeled. Of course, there were a few that were subject to quality control and never made the bowl......
     Tom and Jean Forney left for Maine, we were sorry to see them go. A few days later, Dave and Karen Long joined us at the Plantation. The last Sunday in March we traveled to Biloxi MS to a Chapter 26 Rally. We had a fun filled week of socials, meals and nonsense. During one Happy Hour they picked Ron and Ruth Phinney to be wrapped in toilet paper. This is the final result:

     We took a few day trips and drove around Biloxi. It is a pretty city, however it is still recovering from the ravages of Hurricane Katrina. Many of the beautiful homes along the waterfront were destroyed. Some have been rebuilt and/or restored, but some have not. There are many waterfront lots that have been cleaned up and are for sale, many by auction. However, the casinos are all back in business and appear to be thriving. The beaches are clean and beautiful.


    So, it is almost the end of March and we will be leaving Alabama and heading toward Natchez. After a few days in that beautiful city we start our journey northward. Slowly.....


Sunday, March 4, 2012

February in Summerdale

Soon after we arrived at Rainbow Plantation, Mardi Gras began. Friday evening began with dinner and the selection of the King and Queen. Saturday morning was breakfast, with the arrival of the King and Queen by tractor, with a mini tractor parade following. Sunday was the ice cream social. Monday was the lively parade followed by lunch and an auction of caned chairs for CARE. Bid as we did, there were people that wanted the rocker that I had my eye on more than I did. I had chosen a beautiful maple rocker that had a snowflake pattern on the back and a regular cane seat. I stopped bidding at $350. It went for $375. The winner donated the chair back to the auction, with a homemade teddy bear sitting on the seat. So, bid again I did. This time the bid went to $495 and we thought it was done, but Leo bid $500. He won and only took the teddy bear. So, it was put up again and it sold for the $495 previously bid. That one rocker brought in $1270. The total auction of 22 chairs and one ottoman brought in $4500. WOW. Needless to say, I came home without a chair. Here is the chair that I did not win.
Well, Fat Tuesday was another great meal followed by skits and music. A fun time was had by all.

King, Ron Phinney

King and Queen in the Parade

Jean's wild socks!

Well, since all the excitement things have settled down. Phil has been busy working on his tractor engine. He has had to clean and paint lots of parts. When he got the block on the engine stand, he and Jon discovered that it had two cracks. So, the option was to try to have it repaired or to locate another block. Jon found another block and went and got it for us. Phil has been cleaning that one, so hopefully they can start reassembling the whole thing soon.

I have been to beading and I am working on a project that I started several years ago. I had to research and relearn the pattern because it has been so long since I had worked on it. I hope to have it done soon. We also go to the Computer Group for tech talk every Thursday. This is a fun group of people.

We have played cards frequently and gone out to eat a few times. We have been to The Gift Horse, which is a great buffet in a really neat building. Of course, fried shrimp at Big Daddy's is always a good meal.

The weather has not been as good as it was in Florida, but hopefully we will see more sunshine this week. The grass is green, the azaleas are in bloom and the song birds are here, so I guess we can put up with a few clouds.

We have seen lots of our friends here, it is always wonderful to meet and catch up on news. March has lots of activities planned, I let you know what we are up to next time.

Monday, February 6, 2012

December and January in Bushnell, Florida

We arrived in Bushnell, Florida on December 10th. We were pleased to find out that they are offering the Escapee’s discount of Stay and Play. This means that we pay for 15 days and get to stay for 20. So, we paid up front and got our electric meter reading and settled into site 84. We were right next door to our friends, Tom and Jean Fornay. We had a good time visiting with them, sharing 4:00 PM socials, and many evenings playing cards at the clubhouse. We worked together to organize the Christmas Eve gathering and Yankee Swap. I think a fun time was had by all. We had about fifty fun people there.

Early in December we visited the Florida National Cemetery and saw all of the wreaths that had been placed on the graves. Here is a condensed history of the wreath laying at our National Cemeteries:

                                                The Arlington Story

Worcester Wreath and its involvement with the Arlington project was inspired at the early age of 12 years old when, as a Bangor Daily News paper boy, Morrill Worcester won a trip to the Nation’s Capital. It was a trip he would never forget, and Arlington National Cemetery made an indelible impression. In later life, he recognized that his success as a businessman was in large part, due to the values of this Nation and the Veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

In 1992, the Wreath Company found themselves with an excess of wreaths nearing the end of the holiday season. Seeing an opportunity to make a boyhood dream a reality, efforts to do something special with those wreaths began in earnest. With the help of Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, arrangements were made for the wreaths to be placed at Arlington in one of the older sections of the cemetery, a section which received fewer visitors with each passing year.

                                                The Bushnell Story

The summer of 2006 a group of U.S. Military Veterans came across the Wreaths Across America website and found out that the Florida National Cemetery had not been enrolled to receive wreaths. The U.S. Military Vets M/C decided to host the Wreath laying ceremony. With 7 Ceremonial Wreaths, 40 people in attendance and pouring rain, we held our first ceremony.

Wreath Company in Harrington, Maine decided to open up the individual wreath laying to Cemeteries across the Nation. With the help of the Civil Air Patrol and few other sponsoring groups we were able to place 88 holiday wreaths on veterans graves. In 2008 we placed 1,200 wreaths with 1,000 attending. In 2009 we placed 2,300 with over 1500 in attendance. This past year 2010 was over best year to date. We were able to place 3,800 wreaths covering four different sections. We also estimated that over 3000 people were in attendance. Our goal for 2011 is 10,000 wreaths...

Tom and Jean Fornay were present for the wreath laying ceremony and they each placed a wreath on a grave . If we make it to Bushnell next year in time, we will attend this service.


The weekend before Christmas we drove uptown to a local church that was running a live Nativity story. Well, it was not only a live Nativity, but had scenes from Christ’s whole life. It was a very moving evening. The production was very well done and the church’s gift to the community.



These were REAL PEOPLE hanging from those crosses, and it was NOT a warm Florida evening. Sorry, but you cannot get the best effect from night pictures. You will just have to take my word for it, the production of this was exceptional. There was a LONG line of vehicles waiting to drive through.

Christmas Day we joined lots of our friends at the clubhouse for dinner. Everyone at our table contributed to the decorations and food at the table. We had a good time and a great meal.



Tom and Jean

In late December our friends Dave and Karen Long arrived on site as well. It was great to have them nearby to join in all the fun. Dave and Phil went to Webster Flea Market most Mondays and came home with some great produce. They also found a vendor selling Egyptian Cotton sheets. Phil bought one set for the RV. We decided that we would like more, so the next week Phil and Dave each bought more, Dave talked the vendor into a discount, so they got three sets for $36. Pretty cool!


                                       Karen and Dave

Phil is back to walking several miles each morning. He has also crossed a lot of jobs off of his list of things to be done to the RV. He spent a lot of time up on the roof, cleaning it and caulking any spots that were potential leaks. He buffed out a troublesome stripe on the side of the RV that was a result of a close encounter last fall. He also installed a new kitchen faucet, found and fixed a troublesome leak in the bathroom, refinished and upgraded the headlights, retightened an outside mirror, added trim to the steps, removed the old in motion satellite dish and repaired the roof, put a new thermostat in the water heater, and repaired the AC covers on the roof. Our RV has reached the age of ten years old and has about 97,000 miles on it, so continued maintenance is needed at this time. While we are here he hopes to get the outside of the RV washed and waxed and cross off a few more items on his list. He will also be working with our friend Jon LaPointe on rebuilding the engine to his 8N tractor. Restful winter, huh?

I have been busy just doing everyday things, like laundry, housecleaning, managing our busy social schedule, and fiddling with my new laptop. Add to that, I needed to reset up a new phone, because I lost mine at Wal Mart.

I borrowed a lot of this narrative about New Year’s Eve from the blog of Larry and Marilyn Forbes. Larry presented it so well, I was hard pressed to do better:

We celebrated the end of 2011 at the Sumter Oaks RV Park clubhouse.  Everyone in the park was invited to the wedding reception put on by the Pearlite’s and the Colbert’s for the marriage of Pearline Pearlite to Lance Van Colbert.  The invitation stated that in lieu of gifts, guests were “Politely asked to bring and share some horses’ ovaries”.

Here are the grandfather (Pappy) of the Bride along with Pappy’s current wife, Henrietta VIII).  DSC04374 

The parents of the Bride (Minnie Pearlite and Duke Twayne of Booger Holler) came in first:  DSC04388-001  They were soon followed by the parents of the Groom.  They were Victoria and Vance Van Colbert.    DSC04390-001  Booger Holler was next to a mountain, which was owned by the Colberts. 

The bride and groom arrived, and were escorted to their reception table by their parents.  They sat with the best man and matron of honor.  DSC04395DSC04397DSC04405

After the wedding party had the opportunity to fill their plates, all of the guests lined up to partake of the “horses’ ovaries”.  IMG_0268

The bride and groom made a lovely couple as they danced the night away.  DSC04413  Others were on the dance floor also.  We saw the best man (in reality the husband of the groom) dance with the matron of honor (in reality the wife of the bride). DSC04412   The festivities never seemed to end.  Even the bride’s sisters showed up for the event.DSC04426DSC04430DSC04431DSC04433DSC04436DSC04437

We also had another memorable cake cutting ceremony (like so many weddings).  The matron of honor even chastised the bride and groom before they cut the cake.  DSC04418DSC04420

                                    Tom led the Conga Line carrying ‘The Wiz’


We were visited by Father Time 2011 and Baby New Year 2012.  DSC04448DSC04455DSC04456 We all toasted the New Year in at 12:00 AM!

So, on February 1st we packed up and headed out toward our next destination, Rainbow Plantation in Summerdale Alabama. We arrived on the 3rd and got a great site, facing south, which means we get a a lot of sunshine through our front window. We have lots of friends here as well, and there are lots of activities going on all the time. Next week will start the Mardi Gras celebration that lasts for several days. The goings on are hilarious and hard to describe. It is amazing what grown up children can get into! I will post pictures in the next blog.