life after the rally… Wytheville, Lynchburg and Pittsburgh!

Leaving the rally was a difficult thing to do.  We had been traveling with our friends for quite a while and we had really been having a great time.  The only thing that made it easier was we would be spending an extra few days with Red and Pam.  They were not part of our OBX group, we hadn’t seen them since the 2014 TN rally, so we were very happy to have a few extra days to hear more about their travels over the past year.

set-up at Stony Fork Campground
Red and Pam all set-up at Stony Fork Campground – they just got their new rig, a toy-hauler so Red can bring is toys – the largest being a rhino – which is an off-road vehicle.
our site
our site

Right after we all left the 2014TN rally, they headed north and went to AK.  Pam doesn’t “officially” blog, but she does a newsletter instead, so we had been following along with them, but it was nice to talk about some of the stuff in more detail and hear about their experiences in person.  They gave us some great tips and I’m sure if we decide 100% to go ourselves next year, we will be having more conversations about it.

They have also been to Quartzite, AZ and done quite a bit of boondocking (camping without hook-ups) out there, something else we want to do.  Quartzite is very popular with RV’ers in the winter months, like FL is.  We’ve never been there, but from what we hear, the weather is MUCH better, drier and sunny every day!  Sounds good to me!  To top it off, when you are boondocking, there is very little or no cost!  I believe we were told something like $40 for 2 weeks!  Here on the east coast, especially the northeast, it isn’t unusual to spend $40 per night! – or more!  So, needless to say, $40 for 2 weeks would be a welcome budget friendly option!  Sad part about it is, it is far from our family, but most of the country is, so if we want to see this HUGE country of ours, guess we will have to get over that!  We are hoping to meet back up with our RV’ing friends next winter out in AZ!

While spending time with Red and Pam, we did a bit of exploring of the Wytheville, VA area.  We only had a couple of days before we went in different directions, but here are a couple of pics of things we did.

hiking in our campground
hiking in our campground

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don't know what it is exactly, but some type of growth on the tree
don’t know what it is exactly, but some type of growth on the tree

Another day we went to lunch in town – we found it on TripAdvisor, which rarely steers us wrong, especially when it comes to restaurants.  We usually like to visit local places, not chains that you find all over the place, even though some are very good.

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The building was VERY OLD
The building was VERY OLD
The inside was like a maze, all different rooms, each with a different
The inside was like a maze, all different rooms, each with a different “feel”
unique table and chairs
unique table and chairs

Here is something you don’t see everyday – the dump station!  Hey – they call the black tank “the great RV’ing equalizer!” b/c EVERYONE has one!  We needed to use the dump station b/c the campground was a national forest and didn’t have sewer at the site.

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Next we moved on to Lynchburg, VA and our first time using the Thousand Trails membership we purchased back in the Keys.  We decided to give Thousand Trails a try since we would be spending the summer in PA and NJ and fees up this way, especially in the summer, can be very pricey!  We purchased 2 “zones” – the northeast and southeast, only b/c we got a show special (the Tampa RV show was going on at the time), the second zone for only $100 more, but they were giving us $200 off b/c we were staying at an Encore park that was currently on a special list or something.  Bottom line is: we got the northeast and southeast zone for $445 plus tax, so about $500’ish. (I’d have to check for the exact number).  The usual fee is $545 (plus tax) for one zone.  We figured even if we only use the 30 “free” (I prefer to say “included”) nights – that is only $16’ish a night!  Plus, any night over the 30 at a Thousand Trails is only $3 per night!  In the northeast – that is a HUGE bargain!  We checked their list of parks and there was one very close to our son in Lancaster (we will be heading there July 8) and 3 to choose from on the Jersey Shore (we will be heading there in August).  Got a bit side tracked there – but it is important to us this year b/c it is helping us to stay better on budget – boy do I HATE that word!

our site at Lynchburg RV Resort, our first Thousand Trails CG
our site at Lynchburg RV Resort, our first Thousand Trails CG
we could see these cows in the pasture next to the CG from our site
we could see these cows in the pasture next to the CG from our site

I really do not have a whole lot to say about our time in Lynchburg b/c we didn’t do a whole lot.  We just chilled and hung out.  I think we were both just exhausted from all the excitement of the last few months when we were with our friends.   While we thoroughly enjoyed that time, it was also non-stop stuff going on, very little “down-time”.  For me, there was also a bit of that “after vacation” let down going on, I found myself feeling a bit melancholy.  I found myself thinking about Andrew a lot, which made me sad.  I still miss him every day, his phone calls to chatter about whatever popped into his head.  I doubt I will ever not miss that.

We have since moved on from Lynchburg.  I had considered doing some of the driving, but Bill was concerned b/c there was a lot of hills and steep grades and also there was rain threatening.

We are currently at Mountain Top Campground in Tarentum, PA, just north of Pittsburgh, visiting our daughter!  We stayed here last year and we liked it a lot, so we told Gary and Nancy (the owners) we will see you again!  They had just took over the CG right before we were here last September.

Our home for the next month!
Our home for the next month!
the views from up here are beautiful!
the views from up here are beautiful!
sunset
sunset

We’ve really been loving our time with our daughter, Michelle.  Well, her “given” name is Michelle, but when she was 19 she decided she didn’t want to be Michelle anymore, and legally changed her name to Maeve.  It’s a long story, and still a very sore spot for me, but it does cause some confusion, especially on my FB page.  I will always refer to her as Michelle, but when I tag her in a pic, I will put (Maeve Murray) in PP like that.  It is also nice to get to know her BF, Derek, better.  They have been dating for well over a year now, so getting to know him better is a priority to me.  Who is this guy that has stolen my daughters heart?  Ok – that’s a bit overstated (well – maybe not) – but either way, he is clearly very important to her, which means we need to know him better!  We are the parents after all!

Michelle cooking us dinner at Derek's place
Michelle cooking us dinner at Derek’s place
look at this!  YUMMY!  whole wheat pasta (I think it was linguini) pumpkin sauce with ground turkey, sage, candied walnuts (which she candied herself) and goat cheese - WOW!  I was super impressed!
look at this! YUMMY! whole wheat pasta (I think it was linguini) pumpkin sauce with ground turkey, sage, candied walnuts (which she candied herself) and goat cheese – WOW! I was super impressed!

Michelle and Derek took us with them to a friends house, Lauren and Jared.  Jared had gotten himself a smoker and was smoking a brisket, big enough to share!  We brought buffalo chicken dip and chips to contribute and we had a nice day getting to know some of her friends.  We had briefly met some of them at her masters graduation, and it was nice to see them again!

brisket was delish!
Jared the brisket-master – it was delish!
playing a game called Concept - you get a topic and people have to guess it based on markers you put on the board to describe it.  It's kind of like charades, but in a board game.
playing a game called Concept – you get a topic and people have to guess it based on markers you put on the board to describe it. It’s kind of like charades, but in a board game.
she is going to hate that I posted this pic, but I just love it - it's totally her!
she is going to hate that I posted this pic, but I just love it – it’s totally her!

Another day, Michelle put us to work.  She currently works for a non-profit food panty, called Squirrel Hill Food Pantry.  It caters mostly to kosher Jewish people.  That is somewhat interesting b/c “traditionally” we could be considered Jewish.  My Mothers Mother, Harriet, was Jewish.  She did a big no-no and married my Grandfather, Edwin, who was not Jewish.  They had my Mom, who could be considered Jewish, b/c the Jewish faith follows the Mothers bloodlines.  So, that makes me Jewish (even though I was raised Catholic – now it gets really complicated!), and therefore my daughter could be considered Jewish.  When she has children, they could be considered Jewish, however that would not be true when my son has children, unless he was to convert, which I do not see happening.  Ok – off-topic tangent done for now!

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this is exciting stuff - filling bags with 1lb of chickpeas
this is exciting stuff – filling bags with 1lb of chickpeas
we got a little method going on after a while
we got a little method going on after a while
selfie!
selfie!

One day we went to an open-house type event at a small local distillery called Wigle.  They had food trucks and samples of drinks made with their whiskeys.

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their product line-up
their product line-up

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the bartenders
the bartenders
interesting ceiling
interesting ceiling
Bill and Derek playing Connect Four
Bill and Derek playing Connect Four

Afterwards we went back to Derek’s place to hang out

view from his balcony
view from his balconey
fixing drinks
fixing drinks
we played a that was the reverse of Jenga - can't remember the name right now - here is what Michelle built
we played a game, Bandu, that is sort of like the reverse of Jenga – instead of a tower and you take pieces out – you build a tower, that hopefully doesn’t fall, b/c then you lose! here is what Michelle built
this is mine
this is mine

We visited Derek at his job one day.  He is the General Manager of Construction Junction, a non-profit that is like the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

its a pretty big place - we were here last year for their annual fundraiser
its a pretty big place – we were here last year for their annual fundraiser “Steel City Big Pour”

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We also visited Arsenal, which is a “Cidery”, they make hard ciders, which are very good!  We sampled a few before making a decision on a glass.  We went and sat out back and watched the musicians for a while, before the rains came.

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lots of options
lots of options
just a couple of guys under a tent
just a couple of guys under a tent – one playing guitar and one playing a mandolin

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Last night the four of us went to the movies and out to dinner.  We watched the new Jurassic World, which was pretty good.  I think they need to be done with this franchise now, but they totally left an opening for another add-on.  After the movie we went over to dinner at a place called Burgatory.  We had eaten there during our first visit to Pittsburgh, their specialty is burgers (duh!) and they also have the most amazing hard shakes.

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I didn't get a burger - mine is a build-it-yourself crab cake - naked (no bun) with bacon and a garlic mayo - delish!
I didn’t get a burger – mine is a build-it-yourself crab cake – naked (no bun) with bacon and a garlic mayo – delish!
Bill's was a Morty's Steakhouse burger - he shared a bite - it was very good!
Bill’s was a Morty’s Steakhouse burger – he shared a bite – it was very good!
here is my Burnt Almond Torte hard shake - after a few sips
here is my Burnt Almond Torte hard shake – after a few sips
the four of us - what a great night!
the four of us – what a great night!

Well, folks, that’s all I have for today!  I’ve got you all caught up on what’s been happening!  We have almost 3 weeks left here in Pittsburgh, I’m sure there will be plenty of good stuff next time!

0 thoughts on “life after the rally… Wytheville, Lynchburg and Pittsburgh!

    1. Thanks Debbie – I agree! Most people think she looks more like me – but she does have Bill in there also! My son (who we will be seeing soon!) definitely favors my family!

      And -yes – it is very good to be near family – cheers me right up!

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