Thursday, May 7, 2015

Washington or Bust...Day Three...Playing Tourist...

Sunday morning I hear a low rumble and this view greeted me outside my bedroom window.  I yelled at Christie to get a picture before it disappeared. She grabbed my camera and took the shot. As you can see the trees had not started their bloom process whereas in Oklahoma the greening of the leaves were well under way when I left. 
Tub boat and barge going down the Kanawha River
A friend of Christie's lived in the area and said that if we came through we needed to hit a couple of places in Charleston and then see the New River Gorge. 

First stop was a Cabela's Outfitters Store.  We needed to get Christie a sleeping bag and some nice warm socks. Since her birthday was coming up, we found this little number
I am going to have to get me one!
that keeps her coffee hot all day long.  I got a base for "Hetty" so she would not be bouncing off of the resting place I had chosen for her, trying to attach her to a window was just not feasible.  

Charleston's Capitol Dome in Gold Leaf.

A great place to eat.
Sign at Pies and Pints

It was lunch time so we headed into Charleston's downtown section to a little joint called Pies and Pints.  Since it was lunchtime, we felt lucky to get a table as church was letting out and the place was filling up fast. We ordered some  Char-Grilled Hot Wings All-natural, dry rubbed & marinated in sriracha hot sauce, citrus, garlic & cilantro ~ char-grilled to perfection and served with creamy Gorgonzola for an appetizer. Can one say heaven?
Oh so good!

For the main course we got the Chicken Gouda Pie, marinated grilled chicken, applewood smoked bacon, smoked Gouda, red onions, chipotle crema & scallions. Can you say double heaven? I don't think I have ever had a pizza where the crust was so tender yet crisp and buttery at the same time. I had tea and Christie had a hand crafted beer.  

After lunch we were told to go across the street to Ellen's Homemade Ice cream. Oh my such goodness!

Chocolate Almond and Chocolate Oreo Cookie

After lunch Christie said her friend suggested we go to New River Gorge which is run by the National Park Service. It took us about and hour and a half to get there. First we were on a turnpike then heading down a very narrow two lane road for about 12 miles with curves that would turn a weaker man's stomach. We passed the Company Store to the old defunct Sugar Creek Mine. It reminded me of Tennessee Ernie Fords song 16 Tons.

We finally arrived at the New River Gorge...Oh My!!!

It seems to go on forever. It has the worlds largest spansion bridge over it. Christie discovered a one way road to the bottom of the gorge so we decided to take it down to see where it led to.  Here are some of the sites we saw.

It was late when we made our way out of the gorge and headed home. I am so glad Christie was driving. The dogs were happy to see us when we got back. After taking them on a walk and feeding them it was time to hit the hay. 

It had been a long day, but a wonderful day filled with great food, great scenery and great company. Thanks Christie for making this journey with me.

Stay tuned for more...

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Washington or Bust...Day Two...

The truckers diesel engines started roaring to life around 5:30 a.m. in the Walmart parking lot in Boonville, IN. Even though I was sleeping with several blankets and inside a flannel liner I was cold so I knew Christie was cold. Found out Fitz and Lizzy was keeping her warm.  Make note to find a Cabala's Outfitter Store. It was 39 degrees inside Izzy. I made my way up to the front, started the engine on Izzy and fired up the generator even after the night manager said I was not to.  No idling engines are allowed. Uh, tell that to the truckers that were there overnight. 

Not to raise a fuss or anything, but I don't think my little generator makes as much noise as an 18 wheel diesel truck engine. Besides I had to make coffee, you know the important stuff. The sun was beginning to make an appearance and the big trucks were beginning to move out.  

Once Christie and I got things ship-shaped inside the coach, dogs walked, Libby run through her gears with coffee in hand, we departed and made our way back up to the highway. You sure do see interesting things on the back two lane highways through the country-side. We saw a lot of signs that said "Proud Union Home" We wondered what the main industry was for the area and what Union they were part of. 

Once back on I-64 the next task was to find gas and a place to eat.  Twenty-eight miles east was the exit for Dale, IN and a big Denny's sign showed the way. Understand, Christie does not like Denny's. but she was willing to eat there as she was really hungry as was I.   I went back to Libby to turn off the system and noticed that the door binger was not going off. Uh oh no battery power. Dang!

We had a great waitress who seated us and took our order.  We asked her if there was anyone there that could give us a jump?  "Sure" she said, one of the cooks would help us when the time came.  Breakfast was great. I think Christie enjoyed her breakfast omelet.  I know I sure enjoyed my Grand Slam and coffee. 

When time came to go the cook met us with his truck and jumper cables and Libby fired right up.  I ran her a bit longer than usual while running her through the gears. A gas station was down the road so we filled up as Christie did dog duty and once finished we were off again eastward bound.
The Bluegrass State
We were always trying to get pictures of the welcome signs for each state we drove in.  Some sneaked up on us so sudden that we had no time to get a picture of it. We did manage to get Kentucky.

The Ohio River
The mighty Ohio River, what a sight. We think rivers are big here in Oklahoma, but none compare to the Ohio. 
We navigated our way through Louisville, KY home of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby. 
Downtown Louisville, KY

Bridges everywhere the eye can see.

Lots of bridges over the Ohio River. I tried to get a count as I drove but gave up after 6 as I needed to pay more attention to my driving. 

Christie and I discussed the merits of getting a Battery Instant Power and decided that if Libby was going to continue to loose her battery power that it would be prudent to have one. We stopped in the suburb  of Hurstbourne Acres at a Walmart and got this lovely little number for $59.99, a worthwhile investment. 
This will come in handy!

Ninety three miles down the road we needed to fuel the tank on Izzy. We stopped in a little burg called Winchester, KY at the Apple Market. After filling up I pulled into a vacant lot to start up Libby and lo and behold the ole girl had no charge on the battery. Ugh! Out came the Quick Charge, but guess what! It had no charge.  Christie and I walked back to the Apple Market and asked the Manager if we could plug in somewhere and charge the unit up.  In the meantime while waiting for it to charge we had a bit of lunch at their lunch counter. 

We ordered cheeseburgers with fries and tea.  The cheeseburgers came with mayo on them. We asked that it be left off of the burgers...still it was on there. Oh well...some people just don't listen. 
Mustard, Ketchup and Mayo all on one bun

After the unit was all charged up we went back to Libby and lo and behold the thing worked! We got everything under control and were back on the road in no time.  

The thing about traveling across Kentucky is the richness of the grass and the well kept farms in those rolling hills.  I have never seen farms like what I saw in Kentucky. We also saw lots of black barns.
Tobacco Drying Barns
Christie and I wondered why the barns were painted black. Good ole Internet Sal said that it was for processing tobacco, the black paint on the barns helped to heat the barn up thus helping with the drying process.   The horse farms were beyond belief, Beautiful! 

As we traveled eastward the hills gave way to more mountainous terrain.  
Captured this little fellow at one of the many rest stops.
You would come around a curve in the road and at the bottom of the valley floor would be a beautiful setting of a babbling brook running through the valley with a peaceful home beside it with a curl of smoke winding its way upward from the chimney.  

We crossed the Wayne River into West Virginia and holy scatology, the roads just about shook us apart. I will never complain about Oklahoma roads again! We topped the hill just past the state line, a white car passed us at a fast rate and BOOM, he got nabbed by a state trooper. Glad I don't drive faster than 65 mph. 

We went up mountains and down mountains, over hills and through dales. It was starting to get time where we needed to find a place to park for the night. Christie got on her phone and found a roadside park in St. Albans along the Kanawha River (accent on the second syllable... Ka-na-wha), just outside of Charleston the state capitol. 

This is a lovely roadside park which has the honor of having a "Rosie the Riveter" Memorial for those ladies from St. Albans and the surrounding area, who contributed to the War effort. There are a lot of historical markers in St. Albans which were very interesting reading. 

We found the Roadside park and I almost had a complete meltdown.  When you are diving a big rig like what I have, perception can be a...well you get the idea. I had to make a very tight turn and through my big windshield it looked like I was going to go over the bank into the river, one of my biggest fears. Christie had to get out and coax me to make the turn. Terrified that I was going to fall into the river I told her NO shaking my head vehemently ! She called me a big baby and said I would be fine, that I was only going to go onto the grass for about six inches and nowhere near the edge. I made the turn into the RV space with my heart racing. I had made it! Still it scared me to death!  We got the car unhitched and started it up with the quick start. I plugged into the electricity and wallah! Lights and heat! We knew we needed to charge the battery on the car so we took a tour of the area, got gas for Libby and picked up some Wendy's chili, fries and frosty's for dinner. 
Kanawah River Bridge

Christie took the dogs on a nice walk down by the rivers edge and then we called it a night.

Saturday's drive covered 346 miles and I did all the driving. 

Stay tuned for more...

Monday, May 4, 2015

On The Road To Washington DC...First Day...

Me, Christie and the Crew
All systems GO!  After the final check to make sure I had the car in the correct towing position (lesson learned), RV loaded, dogs secured on the bed, jacks raised, food in the ice chest, Christie locked her front door to her apartment. We climbed in, put on our seat belts and I turned the ignition key.  Izzy started to life with a lovely purr. I released her brake and slipped her into gear. Ten o'clock in the morning and all is well.  

Traffic in Kansas City at that time in the morning was not bad. We had set "Hetty" my Garmin
Hetty, my Garmin, Name sound familiar? NCIS:LA
She may be small, but she be mighty!
to navigate us through St. Louis, MO to I-64. The trip was uneventful so to speak.

I had enough gas to get us to the first Pilot-Flying J truck stop.  I really think that Truck stops should put in a pump for big rig gas guzzlers.  Trying to navigate the car pump lanes with a 35' Winnebago with a tow is a nightmare or at least have the pumps in a configuration so it is easy to get in and out of. We went through the diesel lanes to get water for the on-board fresh water tank. Christie walked the dogs, I grabbed a quick bite to eat for the both of us and we hit the road again.

We made it into St. Louis by 3 p.m. just before the
Crossing the Mighty Mississippi
beginning of rush hour traffic. Between Christie and Hetty, I made it through traffic with flying colors. 

Gateway Arch in St. Louis
We took I-64 through the bottom of Illinois and Indiana. About 6 p.m. we pulled off the road at Little Nashville and filled up with gas and had a bite to eat at the Little Nashville Diner. The food was okay but the beautiful handmade clocks were outstanding.  
Just a few of the 30+ hand-made clocks at the Little Nashville Diner

I turned the driving over to Christie after dinner and we finally called it a night in a Walmart parking lot in Boonville, IN around 11:00 p.m. after having put on 427 miles on the odometer. Our longest day of the trip. 

Christie walked the dogs one last time, then it was lights out.

Stay tuned for more...