Although we did not write much ~ we had a very eventful August & September. After the wedding, we headed to Lilburn GA & the Stone Mountain RV campground. We were wildly busy actually. We had an appointment at National Indoor RV center to test drive an Entegra Anthem and we ended up test driving a Cornerstone – the 600 horsepower model – and buying a beautiful 2016 Entegra Cornerstone 45 B on the lot. It is equipped with the full shower bath & 1/2 bath which was a key point after the higher horsepower. The interior lights,audio & shades operate off the Vega system on a dedicated iPad – which is very cool & convienent. It has beautiful interior with medium dark cabinets and a light beige leather L shaped couch. The kitchen & bath counters are a light granite that complements the wood nicely. And there is a tile floor throughout with just a small amount of carpet in the dinning area! My allegeries will be positively affected. We stayed around the area for 10 days to make sure everything worked right and to get me driving lessons!! I now drive the coach half the time and have over 400 miles under my belt already. We hired a trainer who was very good and made some good suggestions. He taught me how to back up,parallel park and negotiate turns in traffic properly. The more practice I have the more confident I get but I actually enjoy it more than I though I would. 😎
We also plan to change our towed vehicle and have an all while hard top Jeep Sahara on order for delivery mid October. We decided that would be a better vehicle for our travels West and to Alaska in 2017-2018. Also it will match the new coach better than the CRV and be able to be towed at speeds over 70 mph unlike our current tow. Here are a few interior photos:
Living space is great and we can seat up to 8 people as needed. The bathroom has a convenient double sink and well proportioned shower. The driver & passenger seat turn around 180 so the can be used in the salon area. Great lighting & darkening shades – a tempurpedic matteress – all make sleeping onboard a joy.
Although we had not intended to make this purchase we believe it was a good decision and will offer many years of comfortable safe traveling.
Although she was a little late with her premiere – it was worth the wait! At 9 lbs 11 ozs she came in as a beautiful heavy weight who already looks three months old. We are delighted to add her to our family.
We stayed two weeks at home to see her and her family before embarking on our first trip in the new coach. We planned to visit Georgia again – Savannah this time, and our friends in Bainbridge and then travel back to Mt Pleasant via Hilton Head Island.
Stone Mountain is not far from the current location of National Indoor RV Center and we stayed at the camp ground in this beautiful state park. The Mountain on the site of a former quarry is the site of a famous memorial honoring Generals Robert E.Lee & Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy. Political comments aside, it is an amazing sculpture more than 75 feet high and it took over fifty years to complete. It is taller than Mt Rushmore’s famous 60 foot sculptures. There is a tram to the top of the Mountain if you don’t want to hike up…we took the tram. It affords beautiful views of the surrounding area and you can see Atlanta on a clear day as we could.
It can be quite hot so being your water and take time on the top to enjoy the view and the narrative inside the structure that offers insight into the Mountain’s surrounding climate. Walk across the top but wear your hat and sunscreen – you are closer to the sun up there! On the weekend there is a laser show presentation accompanied with inspirational music offered for a reasonable fee. The park has a variety of entrance options on its website and discounts for seniors & military like us. We did not get a chance to see the laser show but we will next visit – the campground is lovely and has a nice pool and very spacious sites with a view of the lakes surrounding the Mountain. There is Reputed to be good fishing although no swimming in this lake. Many Beautiful trails to stroll, walk or hike and lots of birds and water fowl to observe. We would recommend this park and the staff was always helpful & delightful. They pick up trash at your site – always a plus.
There is also a museum at the base of the Mountain which we recommend as it has two great films worth seeing – one on the Civil War and one on how the Mountain was built and carved. It’s a valuable visit. Worth your time & money. We watched the Olympics while we were there – inside and outside – love the outside tv!
We would also recommend National Indoor RV Center – everyone from the president (who took us out to breakfast) to the maintenance folks who worked on our coach getting it ready and trained us on the new elements – to the salespeople who were not hard sell but wanted us to be happy with whatever we decided to purchase. Consider them if you are in the market for an Entegra or Newmar coach. We will be returning there for service as it is closest to our SC home base and between home and our winter Florida home.
Also a shout out to the Entegra folks who manufacture a superior product and who have welcomed us into their family with open arms! Thank you for our Taj II 😎
A small luxury resort in Everglades City with great RV sites – A Class only and 28 ft minimum. Lots of large, beautiful motor coaches here – Tiffins, Prevosts and a few Entegras! We had a site along the river – there are 61 total sites. On the river so you get the noise from the Airboats across the way who do tours of the mangroves in the Everglades. We took an hour tour and it was terrific – exciting, interesting and informative. We did also took a narrated tram tour in the Everglades National Park as well as a drive along the Loop Road in the Big Cypress National Preserve. We saw many alligators, herons, egrets, birds and beautiful plants as well as palm, cypress, and other trees. This area is beautiful beyond words. We will definitely return next year. The heavy amount of rain and runoff from the big “Lake O” has affected the amount of birds in the park – normally there are thousands feeding during the winter. However, the water is too deep – there are not as many as are expected in what is normally the dry season. We hope next year is more typical.
The River of Grass – the name given to The Everglades – by earlier tribes and used by the woman who lead the effort to save them – is unique, fascinating, teaming with life and light. The weather during the day changes how you see what is essentially a river, – (120 miles lone by 60 miles wide) and illustrates its beauty differently minute by minute. Clouds reflected in the pools of water offer spectacular images complemented by soaring birds, languishing alligators and sweet wildflowers. I will post many of the hundreds of photos we took during our two weeks here soon. Visit this place, love and respect it – it is the only place like it in the world!
A quick 4 day trip to Maine allowed us to revisit Bar Harbor and the lovely harbors around it. We will return some day and spend more time there – visit Acadia National Park included. We bought some great blueberries , a yummy blueberry pie and we had the best lobster sandwiches ever! The weather was spectacular for Sept in Maine – 80s and 90s! We had great drive there and back and proved a 300 plus drive is not out of the question as long as you stop every few hours to rest & walk around. Lenny agrees! On the way up we stopped overnight at Rick’s sister’s house to show off the Taj. We had a great dinner out with them and pushed off early the next morning. We are so sure this is something we want to do – travel the USA. We recently saw A Walk in the Woods – Robert Redford illustrates the desire to get out and do something no matter your age! We know exactly what that is about. Rock On!
August was a great month to watch the hummingbirds and other chirping friends at our bird feeders, The weather was terrific – warm and sunny most days. We used the campground pool more and ate most meals outside at our table set up the motorhome. We had lovely campfires in the evenings; marshmallows were toasted and roasted as a special treat. Even Lenny has grown to tolerate campfires – at first he was very suspicious but now he has relaxed and sits in one of our laps for an hour or so. its hard for him because – it’s dark and to dogs that means its bedtime! We have continued our walks around the campground and enjoy the different ways people choose to be outside – in motorhomes, 5th wheels, C class vehicles, and a huge variety of tents and campers. I have great respect for those driving the big 5th wheels and parking them in tight spots – it is great entertainment – backing and filling while a spouse gives verbal directions, while waving their hands around alot. We communicate best via short wave radios while parking the bus. We can both hear each other and verify the actions being taken. A lot less yelling & misunderstandings! I love using them – and recommend them for everyone – it avoids getting upset with each other – a real relationship saver! The campground changes quite a bit as the kids get back to school – overnightthe weekenders and vacationers are gone and there are just four or five seasonal guests like us there during the week. The two large fields normally filled with campers & tents are empty except on the weekends or for special group rallies.
Our 2015 to 2016 Itinerary is pretty complete and we have reservations through May 8 2016. Here are some highlights: Upon leaving October 1st we visit friends in Carlisle PA and hope to stop at Gettysburg too. Then down to Staunton VA to see two of our grand daughters. We will make our way to Charleston/ Mount Pleasant through North Carolina enjoying fall in beautiful Smokey Mountain country. We plan to spend Oct 15 through Dec 11th in Charleston to see our oldest and youngest grandchildren and enjoy one of our favorite places in USA. We will leave there for a trip home for appointments and a grandchild birthday followed by a tropical respite to Mexico. We will leave Lenny in the care of his long time sitter and travel to Mexico visiting Tulum and Playa Del Carmen for our fall tropical break. It will be our first stay in Tulum at a small intimate resort on the beach. We are looking forward to it.
We return to Charleston & the Taj mid November and stay until a trip to Savannah GA starts the winter trip south. Tybee Island is the site Near Savannah where we are staying – great bird refuge. We will visit Bainbridge GA to see dear friends on our way to FL.
We will spend from December 21, 2015 to March 23 2016 in various parts of Florida – with 1 month on Long Key and two weeks in St. Pete visiting friends and celebrating New Years. Christmas will be at Caravelle RV Resort near Appalachicola on the Gulf Coast. We found the Resort back in 2010 and hoped to visit someday, so I made it our Christmas gift! A month in the Keys will be interesting and offer a chance to visit Key West with less time pressure. A real treat will be two weeks at Everglade Isle RV Resort which is a class A resort near the state park and halfway between the Keys and the Fort Myers area where we will be much of March. A Red Sox spring training game is in the cards too. We also hope to attend our first Allegro Bus Rally in Sarasota sponsored by Tiffin – a change to meet owners of the same type of motorhome and swap suggestions & stories.
April 2016 brings us to Washington DC for a FMCA Rally which hopefully coincides with some blooming cherry blossoms. A real bucket list item comes in May when we attend a week long event at the Kentucky Derby with visits to a horse farm, breakfast at millionaires row and tickets to the Oaks and the Derby races. I will need to get a hat! This will be a dream come true. So many places to visit – so many sites to try – we are so excited about this first big adventure.