November 2nd to November 13th

Weather Report for this entire time period – RAIN.  Heavy rain, light rain, misting, anything that would cause the ground to be wet rain!

We left Pulaski, PA at  7pm and took route 376 East to 79 South into West Virginia

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I finally have trailer lights and brakes which is an absolute blessing while driving through the mountains of West Virginia.  Also, this was the first test of pulling the car with some stressful roads.  It did great though!  I had to put on 4 ways over a couple mountains, but hey, I am in no rush to get anywhere 😉  Route 79 also has many long 5% grades and the trailer brakes worked marvelous!  Some other little surprises on Route 79 and then 77 were the deer and elk along the side of the highway.  That is always lovely when it is pitch dark and they are literally 20 feet from the roadway with no barrier.  Some of them you could not tell if they were deer or Elk they were so large.

We drove from 6pm to midnight and went 277 miles.  Whenever we drive multiday trips, most times we do not bother with a campground and look to stay at a RV friendly parking lot or a truck stop.  RV friendly places are all over the place, Cracker Barrel Restaurants, Walmarts, Cabella’s, Bass Pro Shops,…

Colleen researched Quincey, West Virginia where we figured we will stop for the night.  She found a Walmart that worked perfectly.

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We are very happy to be on the road again, we just love it!  This picture was taken at a rest area somewhere on Route 79.

We woke up to a beautiful morning in the hills of West Virginia (It was NOT raining!!!)

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I worked all day from that parking lot without one person even questioning why we were there.  As promised the view from my desk.

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You may be asking, just how do you get internet and work from anywhere.  Well, after much research and using our friends at Technomadia (it is a yearly fee if you want to join the site, but well, well worth it). I found a Verizon Unlimited Data Plan (UDP) with a MiFi JetPack.  It works great and so far work has not even skipped a beat.  I have not even had to use my WeBoost booster yet, which is ready to go when needed.

Colleen went shopping to get a few things at Walmart, another nice benefit of staying in their lot, and when she started putting things away she opened the refrigerator door to find out the bottom hinge had pulled out of the bottom of the door.  Another challenge we will need to overcome, no problem.  Let the research begin!  Colleen found new doors for ~$600 and a whole new fridge would be over $1000.  Lovely, so I started looking into options to get this door fixed.  We lived for 16 months in Hatfield, never a problem, on the road for 9 days….funny.  So I was able to track down a gentleman who told me he would need the door for a full day, but could rebuild the door for us for about $100. Challenge overcome!

It was a beautiful day (71 degrees and Sunny). We left there after work about 5:15 pm, but was on a conference call until about 5:45.

Our destination this evening is Charlotte, North Carolina.  We had reservations before we left Hatfield, PA at Greenwood Acres RV Park, but knew we were going to pull in late, which often happens at campgrounds, Colleen called ahead to make sure what the procedure will be when we get there.  To our surprise, he rudely informed her that the office closed at 7pm and we can just park in a field and he will meet us the following morning.  If you know Colleen at all, you know she handles rudeness so well…hmmm…we called another campground.  The campground owner never even called us to see what happened the next day.

Colleen called around and found Yates Family Campground about 1/4 mile from the Charlotte Motor Speedway.  Kevin the owner had no problem with us coming in late and told her we had the only site remaining.  Thank you God!

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Campgrounds here are basically a big open field understandably setup mainly for racing fans.  Yates sites are different from the other campgrounds because all the sites are graveled and many are full hookups.  All the other campgrounds were grass fields.  This was great for us because we literally had rain the entire time we were in Charlotte and sinking into a muddy field is not what we wanted to happen.

While working the next day, Colleen started receiving emails stating that our unlimited data plan is going to be cancelled the end of November!  So guess what I did that night, find and purchase a new unlimited data plan. Tragedy averted!

Next day I had a 6am call for work so I had to wake up 5:30 and took Tootsie for a walk in the dark.  She did her business and on the way back to the RV, she started barking like crazy.  I spoke to her like she understood saying “Toots, it is 5:30 in the morning, shhhh”, I know don’t say it…but she even got louder. She was barking at something under another RV.  So I quickly started walking her back to the camper and when I passed the RV which she was barking at, there was a “BLEEPING” bear about 60 feet from us!  I took a double take! At this point, Tootsie is barking and trying to run towards the bear.  (Now who taught her that, jeez)  Of coarse the bear starts walking right at us.  Wonderful 🙂 I picked Tootsie up and quickly walked back and got into the RV.  I looked out the window and Mr. bear just kept walking right down the middle of the gravel road of the campground.

Of coarse, I told folks at work and as word traveled around, their version of this event now is more like this: Click here.

Rick, Brian, Robb, Tony, Ed, and Pete all had a good time with this one as usual.  I am sure there will be many more little mishaps they will enjoy along with all the rest of you that are following this blog.

My view from my desk at Yates:

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The evening of November 5th was lots of fun, we went to Red Clay Ciderworks.  I have been in many micro breweries, but never a micro-cidery.  They make all types of cider and use local micro-brewery beers to make cider/beer concoctions.  They keg and ship their ciders to local bars and restaurants.  We went on a tour of their operation:

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Then went out into the bar/tasting room where they had free munchies, appetizers for sale and 4 glass tasting floats to allow you to taste many.  Most of the ciders were from 6% to 11% alcohol.  We sat and enjoyed the atmosphere and while drinking 8 different types (2 floats) we talked to the gentleman who gave us our tour.  He was very informative about the area, he notified us that within a 3 mile radius, they had about a dozen micro-breweries and explained what each had to offer which was the largest concentration of micro-breweries in Charlotte.  He said it is typically used by the locals as the pub crawl because they all run down the rail line, so you don’t even need to drive, but rather use the rail to get to all of them.

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I asked the bartender for recommendation for places to go for dinner and he immediately said Mac’s Speed Shop.  We went there to watch the Thursday night football game and catch some dinner.  Mac’s was perfect!  We sat outside, ate BBQ and a burger which was really big and good.  It was unique because they had a firepit outside by the outdoor dining.

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The evening of November 6th, we went into Charlotte to surprise our son Brandon’s friends Josh and his roommate Marcus.  Josh and Brandon have been best friends since middle school.  Josh has lived down here for about 2-3 years. It was good to go to dinner at Menu – Bar-BQ – Jim ‘N Nick’s and just chat for a while.  Marcus and Josh are both doing great!  That is great to see!

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November 7th was a really good day, in spite of more rain for the 3rd day in a row. We took the afternoon to visit the Billy Graham Library.  The recommended route to take through the Library was done tastefully.  It was a great portrayal of his life as a family man, evangelist, and mentor to many, many important figures through his life.  It also showed how widely his ministry expanded and is still building today.  Since it was still raining, we did not really tour the grounds, however the entire property was beautiful.

I would recommend you not missing this no matter what you religious background may be.  We were fortunate to be visiting on Bill’s 90th birthday, they had a cake and a poster for everyone to sign.  He still lives in the Charlotte area today. The pictures below should give you an idea of the walkthrough we did:

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Late that afternoon into the evening, we visited the Treehouse Vineyards.  On the way, the neighborhood started to look a bit sketchy.

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but down the block and up a hill was a little vineyard treehouse oasis!

Once we arrived, this was even better than we could have expected.  Instead of you typical wine tasting, they had everyone sit at round tables and the speaker announced each wine while waitresses were serving.  We tried about 7 different wines and because Colleen was able to find a groupon voucher, we got a free bottle of wine!  Another very cool feature was the owners have built treehouses in trees around the property which you can rent by the hour for date night and even overnight.

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After the tasting, we took a tour of the operation and it was guided by the son of the founder and current Master Winemaker.  It was very informative and surprising how much wine was produced from a small vineyard.  They currently only sell from the vineyard’s store, however now they just are beginning to distribute to local area.

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After the took, we sat down and enjoyed our bottle of wine and some snacks we bought at the store while being entertained by a local pair of musicians.  To say the least, we were entertained though out the evening!

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Before we left Charlotte, I told you earlier about finding a guy who will fix the refrigerator door.  Colleen brought the door to get fixed on the day we left and she ended up finally getting back by 3pm, so after reattaching the door, she cleaned and closed up the inside of the RV.  When I was done working, I put away all the utilities.  It was raining the hardest it has rained since we got to Charlotte!  That was not exactly fun, but anyway it rained so hard that we decided to put the car on the dolly and Colleen would just follow me to Charleston, South Carolina.

If you would like to continue to follow us to Charleston, SC, click here. 🙂