We left Ontario November 9th – just the day before the 1st snow flakes fell! Chuck does a great job watching the weather as the dreaded snow is what we always want to avoid. So far the weather follower has been right on! We’re headed to Riverbend RV Resort for 3 months, arriving on December 1st, but our initial travels are taking us into a rather circuitous route…
We kind of goofed on our planning… We booked some service at the Newmar Factory in Nappanee, IN for the end of November and then decided to leave Ontario earlier than originally planned to visit with family along the way. So, it was down, around, up and back down we go!
First up was Bryan and Lisa who are now living in Roanoke, VA. They were moving into their house the weekend we were there but we did have the opportunity to share a couple of meals, tour the local Dixie Caverns, browse through the junk at Black Dog Salvage and hike to the famous Roanoke Star.
But the highlight?? Meeting Betsy and Walter – their pet pigs! I had never been that close to pigs and they were sure cute! Their fur is so coarse and can they squeal – especially with Bryan. They share a litter box and a kennel and they love to cuddle – especially with Lisa. And, the sound of the food container coming out brings them running and snorting!
Our travels east and west will likely always bring us through some of the same places with Nashville being one of them. But before getting to Nashville we stopped in Sevierville, TN (“severe-ville’) – home of Dolly Parton! We drove through Pigeon Forge (think Dollywood) and ended up in Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountain National Park.
The smoky mountains form the perfect backdrop for this “over-the-top” tourist destination. Dozens of water parks, mini-golf courses, dinner show theatres and a couple hundred restaurants line both sides of this 14-mile main highway. Hotels, inns, lodges and camping are available at every price break.
Note to Self – avoid in the summer…
We stayed 2 nights at a very pretty RV park – Two Rivers Landing… It was a great location – easily accessible and close to everything.
Next up – Nashville! Now this city never fails to disappoint, New this time – the World’s Famous Party Bike!
They were everywhere. Do you think anyone falls off??
There’s no doubt that Nashville will be a regular travel destination as we travel east to west or east to south. We were here December ’15 (I could of sworn it was just last year…) and you can read about it here. This time – we stood in line for 2 1/2 hours outside Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville Restaurant for Sirius XM’s “The Highway Happy Hour”.
Standing in line with three (young & buff) Jersey firefighters in front and a beautiful California doctor and her even more beautiful country song-writer daughter behind made for an interesting afternoon. Not to mention the perfect venue for Nashville people watching! Chuck took the time to get a haircut and I got a chance to check out the hundreds of western boots at the Boot Barn just next door!
If you are a regular listener to The Highway and tune in to the Friday afternoon Happy Hour (3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.) it really is a ‘not to miss’ event when you’re in town. “Buzz” (the DJ) is like a dear old friend and everyone is celebrating something – a birthday, engagement, wedding, anniversary, divorce, vasectomy… You hear about it all! And, the bigger the group you’re in – the better chance you have of getting pulled up on stage. There may even be a surprise celebrity that pops in and entertains and this time was no exception – Brett Young.
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum was a ‘must do’ this time around. We were there at 10:30 Saturday morning and left at 2:30. We were told you need at least 2 hours to visit and I don’t know who it is that decides 2 hours is enough – but you can’t rush this visit. It’s an amazing and informative museum and shrine to those country stars that we grew up with – singing their songs, watching their tv shows and secretly having adolescent (and adult) crushes on… We really enjoy listening to the audio guides which provides more behind the scene information than the exhibits themselves. An additional $5 is worth it!
Poplar Bluff, MO is 255 miles from Nashville and home of daughter Kathryn and her kiddos – Jagger, Molly & Katie. They were busy moving into their new house but we did get a couple of visits in. We shared a non-traditional, but delicious, Thanksgiving dinner of grilled BC halibut, slow cooked scalloped potatoes, green bean casserole and monkey bread! We went to Jagger’s very exciting basketball game which fell 2 points short from winning, visited Kathryn’s classroom that she teaches in and had a sleepover with Katie who was busy with dance classes.
And this is where our plans changed! We were watching the weather and if we headed back up north to Newmar in Indiana we were going to hit some frigid temp’s. We called and re-scheduled our service appointment to April 9th – coinciding with our trip back home in the spring. We decided to head straight to Florida and the route took us through Birmingham, Al where we spent the night at an RV park at the Hoover Met Complex in Hoover, AL, then a Walmart in Tallahassee, FL followed by 2 nights at Fort Wilderness in Disney World. We spent one day in Animal Kingdom and checked out the new Avatar attraction. This was Chuck’s 1st visit to Disney World!
We’re now situated in our home for 3 months – the Riverbend RV Resort in LaBelle, FL. A park with a social director and an event calendar that I can’t keep up with! There’s pickel ball, yoga, remote control car races, happy hours, Saturday breakfast – just to name a few of the activities. Ahhhh – home sweet home!