Traveling from Franklin, NC To Oakdale, CT

Packing Bella

On Tuesday, August 28, we went to Franklin to pack Bella for our trip. We loaded almost everything and put it away so leaving on Wednesday would be faster.

While we were in Franklin, we met Bug at Frogtown for lunch. She presented Papa with three frozen meals! We are looking forward to being able to eat some nice dinners without having to cook! She also gave Bear a bag of frozen “tew”. He wants that as soon as possible.

With Bella packed and ready to roll, except for being gassed up, we went back up the mounatin, excited about leaving on Wednesday!

Hummelstown to East Lyme, CT

Friday, August 30, 2019

This is the day we arrive for our visit with Bee, Hippo Girl, and Kuma!!!

When we were ready to leave the park, we had to back out of our space although it was a pull through. There was a tree at the front left of our spot and a big pickup directly across the narrow lane, Bella is much to long to make such a narrow turn. Because we had to back out, we had to go the wrong way around the park. It was very close on the far side of the park. There were bumper to bumper pickups on one side and cars and trailers on the other. Poppa was driving and did a great job squeezing through without hitting anything!

Once out of the park, it was an easy route, except the RV trip planner milage was short by about 5 miles and the traffic was heavy. As soon as we got out of town, traffic was light and the scenery was beautiful.

We are getting back into some mountains but they are much smaller than the ones in western NC. We saw 2 windmills like the ones out west. As we came out of the mountains, we saw farm land with corn and soybeans. In some fields, the corn was beautiful and in others it looked like it was drying up. We didn’t see any irrigation systems like we see in the fields of south Georgia. At one place, we saw a large American flag rising above the trees. It was not only beautiful but inspiring. We are sure it was part of a business but we could not see one.

In the state of New York, we crossed a bridge with a toll. Cars were advertised for $1.50 but nothing about RV’s. We also got in the wrong lane and had a bit of trouble getting to a cash lane. There we had to pay $5.00!

Traffic was moving and fairly light until we crossed into Connecticut. From the state line until we got to East Lyme, traffic was creep and crawl until all of a sudden traffic would be moving freely. Then back to creep and crawl. It was Friday afternoon on Labor Day Weekend so what did we expect?

Connecticut doesn’t have rest stops, they have Text areas. We stopped at one in East Fishkill for lunch. We would like to know how it got it’s name. We were passed by a truck from Neversink Lumber Company. We were not sure if they ment their business or their lumber!

We arrived at Aces High RV Park a little after 4 o’clock. The park is beautiful with large, shaded spots. The people in the office were not overly friendly. They informed Poppa that they only accepted cash payments for the holiday weekend. He argued that they had not told us that when we made the reservations and that we were staying much longer that the weekend. They finally agreed to take a card. They also do not allow anyone in the park that is not registered. They charge $.25 for 7 minutes of hot water in the bath houses! The park was fairly full when we arrived.

Bee and Hippo Girl came while we were setting up. When we finished, they took us to their house for porch time and dinner. Bee fired up his new grill to cook chicken (very good, he takes after his Poppa!) Hippo Girl made a salad with tomatoes and cucumbers from their garden. She also made a potato salad and added very thinly sliced cucumbers – delicious!)

This is the first time we have seen their new house. They made an excellent choice! The house is beautiful and the yard is georgous! Hippo Girl has painted most of the inside and redone the downstairs bathroom. She has also started making furniture.

They brough us back to Bear and Bella. We slept very well!

We are still having trouble uploading pictures, when we get the problem solved, we will add pictures!

Salem, VA to Hummelstown, PA

Thursday, August 29 Poppa’s Birthday!

We started the day with a quick breakfast and started packing up. Today we are heading to Hummelstown, PA. and Hersheypark Camping Resort. We left Dixie Caverns at 7:42 with 814.6 engine hours. We will continue traveling on I 81 for awhile.

We are traveling in the Shenandoah Valley. It is as pretty as we have heard. The valley has a long history and was actually named for the Native Americans who lived there. The valley played an important role in the Civil War. Google will tell you as much as you want to know! The skys were clear and blue with billowly clouds in the distance.

Virginia also has a lot of caverns. We passed sign after sign advertising them as attractions.

Traffic was not bad most of the way! We were passed by an 18 wheeler carrying red and yellow fire hydrants! They were laying on their sides in crates. First time we’ve ever seen that.

The Warden felt guitly about Bear not being able to get to his food and water while traveling yesterday. Today she moved the water and food inside the baracade. She also gave him some stew. He slept most of the morning but the first thing he did, when he got up, was step in his stew and spread it all over the floor! The warden was driving and couldn’t stop. She had a mess to clean up!

The Warden was driving and somehow we missed our turn to Hummelstown and Hersheypark Camping Resort. We were looking for signs and there were none. We had to change from the RV trip planner to the Garmin. It took us there but on roads that were underconstruction and had heavy traffic. But we got there. We were met on the entrance road by two young ladies who had all of our paperwork. They sent us to our site. This is by far the easiest check in we have ever had. Our site was on the far side of the camp. Across the little lane was a hill that had soybeans and corn growing.

The site was a pull through, although the next morning we had to back out of the site because of a tree and a truck on the front lane.

Bear went for a walk and carry. We met some people from Florida who were very concerned about the hurricane coming toward their home.

When the Poppa went to find out information about Hershey Park, he found out that the park would be closed except for weekends after Labor Day and there would be no shuttle!
We cancelled our return reservations. We are not sure where we will go but think we might look for Harvest Host in the Shenandoah Valley.

We finished Bug’s chicken and purple potatoes for dinner and had a good night sleep.

We are enjoying the trip but looking forward to arriving in East Lyme tomorrow and seeing Bee and Hippo Girl as well as Kuma.

Franklin to Salem, VA

August 28, 2019

We wrote a post on this day but it disappeared when we thought it published! Oh, well, here we go again!

We left Highlands in the dark! Had a little trouble getting in Mountain View to get Bella. We finished loading a few things, put Bear in his seat and headed to McDonald’s. That is our usual breakfast when leaving Franklin in Bella. We used a gift card Bug had given us. After breakfast, we went to Ingles to fill up Bella. We got 10 cents off per gallon. That helps a lot when you are filling up an 80 gallon tank!

We finally got on the road at 7:47 AM with 812.6 engine hours and 298 miles to the Dixie Caverns Campground in Salem, VA. Poppa was driving the first 100 miles. We headed to Asheville and I 26. Traffic wasn’t bad compared to what we would find later. We went through Mars Hill and into Tennessee. Somewhere along the way it started raining and rain stayed with us for awhile. We finally found sun and it was beautiful – so was the country side. The road was often cut through solid rock. Bella did very well climbing the mountains and going down. The highest point was Buckner Gap at 3370′. Since we live at 4118′ that didn’t seem so high! Traveling we could certainly see why these are called Smokey Mountains. At times it truly looked like smoke coming up from the trees.

North of Bristol Virginia, kudzu seems to be a problem. I think they could rival parts of Georgia for kudzu forest! In Johnson City (Jarman shoes) we saw “Wild Wilma’s Fireworks”. It is advertized as the world’s largest fireworks store. Wilma Jean always did like fire works.

Bear enjoyed the ride while Poppa was driving but when the Warden took over, he wasn’t happy. The roads, and especially the bridges, were very bumpy. Each time we hit a bump, he barked. After the Warden drove her 100 miles, we stopped at Sur 81 (on I 81) to have lunch. It was closed, so we ate a turkey sandwich in Bella. Bear got out to leave some messages for future friends. The Warden blocked off the back part of Bella, and let Bear sleep in his bed on the floor. He was much happier traveling this way!

We pulled into Dixie Caverns early afternoon and we were glad to be there. Check in was easy but the sites were very narrow. Poppa had to back up and kind of wiggle to get Bella in her space. Poppa thought his part of the set up was the fastest and easiest he had ever had! When we got set up, Bear was ready for a walk and carry. He approved of the grassy areas.

We had porch time and ate a chicken and purple potato dish, one of Bug’s frozen meals, with a salad. We had traveled 298.7 miles and driven 5.6 engine hours.

We all slept good that night and were ready to get on the road to Hershey, PA

Dollywood, Wednesday, May 9, 20108

Today, we finally made it to Dollywood!


It was fun but expensive.  We drove and paid $15 to park.  We later realized that we could have ridden the free trolley! We parked in lot C (for Cotton Candy).  They have lots up to H and maybe more.  Trollies take you to the park and back again.

We saw several shows.  All were good and had a lot of talented young people.  The first show we saw was in the gazebo and was a string band.  Of course, they were country.  On our way to the next show, we went into Dolly’s tour bus from the 90’s.  She had a bath tub so that she could have bubble baths.  A “retired wig” was in her bedroom.  This bus was 47 feet long. Her new one is 54 feet and has slides.

We saw a show that featured songs from the 50’s and 60’s.  The talent was amazing.  We then went to see Heartsong.  The theater looked like you were in a forest.

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Dolly narrated the movie about where she grew up.  At one point, there was a thunderstorm and we got wet (in the theater) and cold because of the wind!

We ate lunch at Aunt Granny’s. It is a buffet with country food.  The food was pretty good but as Ginny would say it was “picked over”. They were constantly refilling the dishes. The chicken and dumplings never were replaced.

After lunch, we rode the train.  We were warned about the cinders because it is a coal fueled engine. We were covered with cinders by the time we got back but it was worth the trip.  We saw where they are expanding the park. We also saw the rides that we decided we did not want to ride!  One was a roller coaster that goes up 24 floors and drops you 13 before doing a loop de loop! Another was a tower that took you up high enough to see the entire park and , just as you were getting comfortable, dropped you at 70  mph! The other was a log ride on which, we were told , you would get wet head to toe!  That might be nice during the summer!

We ended our trip with a country music show that focused on legendary songs and artist.  We were amazed at the talent in all the shows.  We were also glad that we were there in early May. The weather was perfect and the crowds were small and mostly senior citizens.  We had almost no wait time.  We were also amazed at just how handicapped friendly the park is.  There were lots and lots of handicapped people in scooters!

When we got back to Bear and Bella, we found a new neighbor who could be Snickers’ brother!

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We were still full from lunch and decided to eat light.  After getting lost and wandering around Sevierville, we finally found Holston’s. We didn’t eat light but sure did enjoy the food.  It was prime rib night.  We had so much that we brought some home for tomorrow night! Of course, we got lost coming back to Bella and Bear.  We saw some beautiful country.  We finally found our way back to Bear and Bella.  Bear was glad to see us, he was worried that Poppa would not get back in time for treats!  I’m not sure we trust Little Red’s GPS or Google Maps!

We are not sure what we will do tomorrow other than find time to sit and watch the river gently flow by.

Seveirville, TN, Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Today, we planned to go to Dollywood but Dollywood was closed today and next Tuesday. We are used to having to change plans, so we did! We will go to Dollywood tomorrow and today see Sevierville and Pigeon Forge.

We went to the Tanger Outlet Center. It is a big one! We made three big purchases!  Poppa bought a pair of shoes. He bought the Warden a pair of sunglasses. Together they bought silicon tipped tongs!  We also ate at Chop House for lunch. We both had burgers and they were good. The portions were huge. For dinner neither was hungry so just had beans and franks.

Porch time was relaxing.  A nice gentle breeze, comfortable temperature, birds singing, and a gently flowing river to watch.  Bear enjoyed laying in the grass, licking his feet, and probably eating a few small rockIMG_E3023

Franklin, NC To Sevierville, TN Monday, May 7, 2018

On Monday, May 7, 2018, Bear, Poppa, and the Warden left Franklin headed toward Dollywood! They had been planning this trip for a very long time.  The Warden used the truck Garmin, to plot the trip in Bella.  The Warden and Bear drove Bella and Poppa drove Little Red (Jeep).  They thought they would go up 441 for about 75 miles.  The Garmin took then up 23 to West I 40 and on some small roads to Gatlinburg and then the Parkway!  The trip was about 120 miles!  The Garmin map kept jumping all over the world.  Several times it was showing Mongolia!  We are not sure if we came that long way due to truck regulations or a messed up GPS!  We also went through two tunnels. All in all, it wasn’t a bad trip but we were very glad to finally get here. After a nice long walk with Bear, Poppa and the Warden celebrated by having dinner at Long Horns. Bear celebrated by having an extra helping of stew.

We are staying at River Plantation and are backed up to the Little Pigeon River.  This is a very nice RV resort and very conveniently located between Sevierville and Pigeon Forge.  Tomorrow (Tuesday), we plan to go to Dollywood!

Bear approves of this spot!


First Camping Trip – Great Outdoors

Sunday , February 21 – Monday,  February 22, 2016

Today, we took Bella for our first camping experience.  We went to Great Outdoors RV Resort in Franklin, NC. – only about 5 miles from where we store her.  The purpose for this trip was to get to know her!

When we made the reservation, we told Great Outdoors that this would be our first trip in out first RV.  They assured us that they would be there to help us with whatever we might need.  They were as good as their word.  When we got there, John took us to our site and guided Poppa into the site.  Poppa did an excellent job backing Bella into her site.  This was his first time backing her! John stayed until we had the outside set up (electricity, water, and tanks) before he left us.  He told us to call him if we needed any more help. We were able to get the slides out and everything set up inside.  We started unpacking and putting up all the things we had bought to make Bella our home away from home.  Things went very well.

Bug came and cooked dinner for us. We had a great time.


We had to leave on Monday.  Monday morning, we started the reverse of setting up. Everything went well until we tried to lift the hydraulic leveler on the back passenger side.  It would not come up all the way!!!! With John’s help we got it up enough to drive it to Ainglin Repair in Otto, NC. It was sad to leave our beautiful Bella there but the leveler had to be fixed!

Picking Up Bella!

Saturday, February 20,2016

Today we pick up Bella!

Before we could pick up Bella, we had to find a place to park our beautiful coach. We secured a covered storage spot for her at Mountain View Storage in Franklin, NC. This seems to be the only covered storage for RV’s in Western NC!

After working out the mortgage, insurance, and warranty, we finally began our orientation.  We filmed the two-hour orientation because we knew we would never remember everything. We also learned that neither of our cars could be flat towed!

Finally we were ready to take Bella to her new home.


The Poppa drove Bella to Franklin and the Warden drove the van. Continue reading “Picking Up Bella!”


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

We decided that the Adventurer is the coach for us!!! We put a hold on her so that we could really go over her before we made an offer.  After looking at her pretty picture so many times, we had started calling her Bella.

When we looked closely at her, she was still the one.  We had decided what our maximum offer would be.  Thank goodness they accepted one a little lower and we will pick her up on Saturday!!!!

Much to do before Saturday.