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