Sunday, July 19, 2015

Washington or Bust...What is That Smell...Uh Oh...

We were up early Tuesday morning to get things rolling as we had to feed dogs, walk dogs and stow gear before leaving to drive Libby back into Morgantown to get her tire fixed. Once we found the tire place we discovered not only did we need one tire we needed 4 tires, as all of them were showing the space bars saying it's not safe to drive. Ugh! About an hour later and $690.00 lighter in the wallet we left to go find someplace to eat as both Christie and I were starved.

Christie looked up a "clean food" restaurant on Foursquare and plugged in the address on her phone. Off we went, up one hill, down another, tight squeeze, up another hill, sharp corner, down steep hill only to discover the place is out of business. Now what? We back tracked, then the light bulb went off...duh...there was an IHOP in the shopping center where we were last night. Knowing this could have saved us a lot of trouble and gas...oh is suppose to be an adventure, so we might as well enjoy the ride. Besides we got to see more of Morgantown. It really is a place you need to visit, it has a charm that will steal your heart. 

Back to breakfast...It was good...smelled good, tasted good, can you tell we were hungry?
Can you tell I was hungry?
Ate every last morsel. Paid the bill and was on our way back to the campground to get Izzy, settle our bill, dump the tanks and leave.

We decided not to hook up Libby until we were out of the state park as we needed to run her a bit more to charge up her battery.  We found a service station down the road aways that was easy to get in and out of. There we topped off both vehicles tanks, hooked up Libby to Izzy and were on our way to Washington DC.  I figured that we would be getting there during the 5:00 p.m. rush...I know, but sometimes you just can't help those things. 

The trip into Washington was uneventful until we got into the outskirts starting at Germantown. Traffic coming out of Washington was a nightmare, but the closer we got to DC it started getting thicker.  The trouble with driving an RV with a toad in 5 p.m. traffic is, no one wants to give you an inch. Then when you're trying to get on to a main artery some idiot will try to pass you on the left side where there is no room to pass next to a retaining wall and hope you won't run him into the wall all the while rudely blaring his horn at you, while you are playing dodge car on the right hand side.  Driving in rush hour
Rush hour traffic, this is mild...
traffic is not for sissy's. Besides I'm bigger than you!
At one point I had to pull off at a weigh station to be weighed. Guess I passed the weight test, the little man didn't come out and wave his little red flag at me. 

Starting at Kensington both Christie and I noticed an odd smell. We wondered if it was coming from the cars in front of us. It kept getting worse as we progressed through traffic. At one point Hetty our Garmin took us off the beaten path for about 3 miles then got us back on the path, don't know what that was all about. We finally found our turn to get to the road where we would turn into the Greenbelt National Campground.  I had waited 15 years to camp at this campground and I was here at last!
Here at last!

Finally we had arrived...well almost...we followed the road and as I started to step on the brakes going down a hill and around a corner, they went all the way to the floor! OH S%*T! I started pumping them and got some brake power back but not much. Thank goodness that didn't happen while we were driving in traffic! I had pre-paid with a reservation, so I didn't have to stop at the guard station and get the payment envelope, that could wait.  We followed the road around looking at all the different sites to see if we would fit. At one point I told Christie to unhook Libby and I would park Izzy and we would look at sites again and this time take our time. Christie is unhooking Libby and I hear her yelling HELP!  I ran to the back of the rig and there she is, trying to keep the car from rolling into the RV, she had forgot to put the car in park.  I ran around and put the car in park and set the brake as she finished getting everything undone with a sheepish grin on her face. "Sorry Mom" Me...I'm shaking my head. 

We drove through the loop again and found a fairly level site close to the bathrooms. We jockeyed Izzy in place, got her level, slides out, dogs walked, fed and watched a beautiful sunset when we realized we were exhausted and hungry.  
The end of the day

We drove back to the main thoroughfare and across the street was a TGI Fridays.  Dinner never tasted so good.  It felt so good just to sit down and relax. I even had a drink. Our waiter was wonderful and a delight to talk to. I wish I could have bottled his humor and brought it back home. 

We got back to Izzy sometime before 11:00 p.m., walked the dogs again and collapsed into bed after checking all the switches and knobs and locking the doors. 

I said a prayer of Thanks for getting us there safely and was glad to have my daughter there with me to share the experience.

Stay safe until we meet again! 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Washington or Bust...On to Morgantown West Virginia and a Flat Tire

We had a 167 mile trek from St. Alban's to Morgantown, WV once we got the tanks dumped and had a bite of breakfast at Tim Horton's (we had to buy some of their ground coffee, mmm goood! And 40 donut holes for the road, which Christie said we didn't need, but who ate most of them). Then we were off. Thank goodness I had gotten pictures the day before of the capitol building as the sky was dull and not a good day for shooting pictures. 
The white stuff on the walls is ice. 

The trip was fairly uneventful (once again driving in mountain and valley conditions) we arrived in Morgantown around 4:00 p.m. thankful to get off the road as a stiff wind was beginning to develop. We had contacted the parents of a friend of ours to go visit them. Lou and Barbara Hamrick, wonderful people and so hospitable. 

We made the mistake of trying to take Izzy down into a valley where they lived. Talk about country roads! They were so narrow and the turns so tight that we were not able to get to their home. We meandered our way around tight neighborhoods back to the main road.  It's a wonder how well we followed our noses since we had no idea where we were or if we would end up in an area with no way out. We decided to drop Izzy off at a nearby shopping center, unhitch the car and go back to find their home. 

Barbara met us at the door with a big smile on her lovely face. She offered us some iced tea to drink and we began a lovely chat. Lou came in shortly from work and a delightful conversation ensued. Their son Brian was one of Dave's employees and a dear friend. He was dismayed when he was not able to make it back to Norman for the Celebration of Life for Dave. They once again reiterated this and we said we understood and for Brian not to feel bad about it. 

It was starting to get to light dusk of evening when I mentioned that we needed to find a place to stay for the night.  Barbara and Lou suggested Cooper's Rock State Forest Campground not too far from their house.  We made it back to Izzy, hooked Libby up to her and made our way to the campground, found a site after discovering we had the whole campground to ourselves, hooked up to electricity and made our way back to Home Depot to meet up with Lou and Barbara for dinner.  We discovered that our tire was almost flat when we got to Home Depot. Hmm 

Now how did that happen?  While looking for a campsite we unhooked Libby and Christie took her down a rather rugged road in which she said looked rather shady to say the least. So she turned around to come back and realized she was not on good ground, thank goodness I didn't try to take Izzy down that road. I bet one of the sharp rocks on the road got the tire. 

They decided to give us the twenty-five cent tour of Morgantown.  There is only one mile of road that is flat and straight in the whole town. The rest of the town, you are either going up a steep hill or going down a steep hill.  It's amazing how they built the homes on the sides of the hills and with no parking. It is definitely a walking town and you had better be in good shape to do it.  
An evening sun on Woodburn Hall

The University built a monorail system to get the students from one area to another and it is heavily used.  A rather ingenious idea if you ask me. Lou said that it kept breaking down and hadn't been used in years.  The university was going to tear it down when someone stepped up and managed to get it operational again and now everyone loves it. 

Lou and Barbara took us to the Golf Club where there is a Boston Beanery for dinner.  I had a wonderful French dip sandwich and salad instead of french fies.

With Lou's help Christie got the tire changed. We said our goodbyes. Barbara gave us a goody bag with an authentic piece of Morgantown Green Depression Glass plate and several jelly jars of her homemade jelly's and jams. She also gave me a the story of the barn square and showed me the quilt she made from the 100+ year old quilt pattern of her great grandmother. I will soon write a story about that and post it on dasusmusings. It's quite interesting.
Christie with the goody bag

Barbara and Lou Hamrick, wonderful, kind people

We got back to the campsite and discovered that we had a fellow camper a couple spaces down from us, which made us feel better about being there. We fed the dogs and walked them. Christie used a very nice shower facility then it was time for lights out.