Monthly Archives: October 2015

New Orleans

New Orleans was a fun place that we wish we had more time to explore and mostly more time to eat! Holy cow…people are not kidding about the good food in New Orleans! If you’re a foodie and haven’t been there…you’re not a true foodie!

We stayed at the KOA there, which was the smallest KOA we’ve ever seen/stayed at, but still had all the great amenities we love – we mostly judge on the dog area! :-p And they had dog walking services right through their front desk, for only $5! Though we didn’t use it, because we’re paranoid and Solomon isn’t always the best walker, we loved the option and had we been there for more than 2 nights, we probably would have!

So, back to the food…and the drinks…

We only spent one full day in the main part of town, and what do you know, we somehow managed to experience 4 or 5 restaurants!

The highlights:

Three different bars, all amazing specialty cocktails!

The first was from the oldest bar in the country, Lafitte’s, which we naturally had to go to for that reason, and the fact that it supposedly has quite a bit of paranormal activity…and we enjoy befriending those of the past….!

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The two tall, pretty drinks were from our favorite place of all…Pier 424 Seafood Market! Not really a market, but an Oyster Bar and restaurant with market fresh food….!

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Please notice our reflection in the back! :-p

We ordered Fried Alligator, Oysters Rockefeller, Red Beans and Rice with Fried Chicken, and multiple different types of raw oysters…everything was sooo good!! And the front of the restaurant was wide open, so while we sat there talking to the bartender/oyster shucker/our server, Raymond (who was fantastic), we got to listen and watch different street performers! It was by far our favorite and most unique New Orleans experience!!

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Outside Pier 424

 

Awesome architecture, colors, patios, and terraces everywhere!

Cafe Du Monde – that place is hoppin! Get your coffee and begniets, but be prepared to fight for a table and wait for a bit!

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Cafe Du Monde

Courtyard Grill – super cute, wanted to eat here, but service was awful and they were out of the two main things we wanted…so we moved on…but still super cute!

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Courtyard Grill

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Amazing street performers, we could have listened to them forever…instead we bought their CD and went to go eat more (after listening for awhile!)! :-p

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Coast Line

Driving…the roads were pretty awesome and beautiful themselves…and they have a St Bernard Ave, so you know it’s going to be great!!

 

Full Review of Pier 424 Seafood Market and The Courtyard Grill here!

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South Carolina

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Our next stop was Seneca, South Carolina to visit one of Dana’s best and oldest friends, Jack and his family.

We stayed at South Cove County Park. It was on a lake and absolutely beautiful (though it had far too many speed bumps – the kind that made us feel like our trailer was just going to fall apart!!).

Our Neighborhood!

Our Neighborhood!

Our Lot.

Our Lot.

Once we get set up and settled, Donnie started up the grill for dinner, while Dana made some delicious salads, and Solomon went for a little swim! We have been actively trying to eat healthier, which can be very difficult on the road…but we’ve been doing a pretty good job (minus Dana’s chip addiction)!

Grill Master!

Grill Master!

Crabcakes, egg, and baked beans!

Crabcakes, egg, and baked beans!

Delicious Spinach Salads!

Delicious Spinach Salads!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy Dude!

Shortly after dinner, Jack and his girlfriend, Micah, came over to our humble abode! We gave them a nice tour, Solomon made sure they knew what slobber was and that they smelled like him, we caught up for a bit, then had a lovely bonfire (with s’mores of course), before they became our first overnight guests! Whewww whooo!! Slumber party! haha

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Solomon is not shy when it comes to new friends!

In the morning, Donnie made us some killer breakfast sandwiches and Jack, the coffee snob, refused to drink our Keurig coffee…! :-p So we went to the Connolly’s house so Jack could make some “real” coffee…and so Dana could see Mrs.Connolly (they also let us do laundry, which was awesome)!!

After our coffee, we took a little trip over to Devil’s Fork State Park and walked around a little and sat on the shore. It was beautiful, the water was so green and clear, with the mountains in the distance!

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From the park, we went back to the Connolly’s to hang out with Jack’s fam. Mrs. Connolly made us a nice chicken ala king dinner, and our laundry finished up…then we went for a nice evening walk around their neighborhood with Jack’s nephew, Troy! Dana’s new buddy!

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We were all pretty exhausted by the end of the day, so we called it a night.

The next morning, Jack and Micah picked up breakfast for all of us from their favorite spot nearby, and came over for a nice breakfast picnic before we hit the road!

Though we couldn’t leave before getting a few selfies…

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Old school selfie with the self timer…!

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It was awesome seeing them and being able to spend some quality time together reminiscing and catching up! Hopefully it’s not as long before we see them again!!

Bonus Pic – Complements of Jack:

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Flabby Face!

 

 

Virginia

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Just passing through…The Mothman Museum will have to wait!

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Unfortunately, Shenandoah Valley will have to wait as well, due to campground flooding we had to skip it…

While we were in New York, we joined a site called Harvest Hosts. It has a directory of ranches, farms, and wineries (along with a few other unique places) across the country that allow you to park over night for free.
Anyone who has done a lot of traveling or extensive trips knows how exciting a free night can be! As long as you’re a Harvest Host member, have a self contained RV, and give them a heads up that you’re coming, they provide a nice lot for you! All they ask in return is that you purchase something from them.
More info here:
Harvest Hosts Affiliate Banner

While in Virginia, we were lucky enough to have our first Harvest Host experience! And it was wonderful!

Desert Rose Ranch & Winery in Hume, Virginia

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We called the day before we planned to arrive and talked to Melissa and she was so friendly and excited for our visit. She gave us a quick run down on the layout so we knew what to expect when we arrived and where it would be best for us to park.
Well, we ended up deciding to stay in Gettysburg an extra night since there was so much more there than we ever imagined…so I called them back again to see if we could come the next night. This time I talked to Linda, one of the owners, and she was just as friendly as Melissa. She told us there was no problem and she looked forward to meeting us the following day.

It was tucked away down some beautiful country roads, and just getting there was a treat.  When we arrived, we were immediately impressed and excited. They had a beautiful building with a great wrap around porch, a beautiful pond with a fountain, a picnic area with tables and a fire pit. We were so excited for a night without any city noise or loud neighbors.

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Their parking lot wasn’t very big, but they had a great, level, grass area for us to park on by the picnic area. It was perfect.

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The other owner, Bob, came out while we were parking to introduce himself and help guide us. He was very welcoming, and within minutes of being there told us to make ourselves at home. He even offered us the ability to dump our holding tanks, since his son-in-law had a business that could come to us and empty them – how cool!

After we got set up and settled, we walked Solomon around real quick and went in for a tasting! They immediately invited us to bring Solomon in (who we’d left in the trailer). Since he’s spoiled and we hate leaving him, we attempted to bring him in…however, he was too excited after a full day of driving and couldn’t sit still, so back outside he went so we could enjoy our tasting!

Inside was absolutely gorgeous! But for some silly reason I didn’t take my camera inside and I’m really regretting that!! Their bar had currencies from all over the world, from all their travels, which was really cool to us. They had a beautiful fireplace, kids korner, local art on display, great wood furniture…we loved it, did I mention that!?

We also loved their wine! Neither of us had ever thought or heard of wine from Virginia…but it was great!  Both being red wine fans, we don’t normally enjoy whites – and never Chardonnays…but their Unhitched Chard was the best either of us had ever had! But still sticking with the reds, their Cabernet Franc and Covert Cab were the favorites!!

Our tasting finished around the time they were closing up, and Bob and Linda came down and invited us to sit on the porch with them and have a glass of wine. They even invited us to bring Solomon back out. So he came and hung out on the porch with us, and gave Linda lots of hugs, and even tried to sit on her lap a couple times!  We sat out there while the sun set and shared our backgrounds as well as travel stories. Their travels blew ours out of the water – we have work to do – but we enjoyed their company. We could have sat out there for hours and not run out of things to talk about!

Among other things, we talked about work and working while we travel, and Bob offered to hire us to help pick his last block of grapes the following day. We were pretty excited about the opportunity, unfortunately since we had no experience, we would have needed help and on such short notice they weren’t able to find the extra hands.

They invited us to stay another night, and we would have absolutely loved to, unfortunately we were getting behind on our schedule already and had already cut a couple planned stops out, so we needed to get on the road.

Before leaving, Solomon had a little photo shoot around their beautiful property.

Cute Decorations

Cute Decorations

Great Patio and Part of the Beautiful Porch

Great Patio and Part of the Beautiful Porch

Thank you for the hospitality Bob and Linda Claymier!! We will definitely be back!!

 After leaving there, we stopped in Lynchburg for lunch with Dana’s cousin, Andy! Also wish we had more time there, but I’m glad it worked out so I could see her between her meetings!! Next time, we’re going to make her be a tourist with us!! :-p

Yay for awesome cousins!!

Yay for awesome cousins!!

 

Next Post: South Carolina

Pennsylvania

Our longest and most stressful driving day was probably our drive from Maine to Pennsylvania!

We do not recommend driving 430 ish miles in one day with a fifth wheel…!

We started in Maine, and drove through: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey…finally ending in Pennsylvania. Seven states in one day…and hitting traffic close to many of the large cities made it even longer…Ug. We do not recommend it. Nor would we do it again…!!

Though, it did allow for a longer stay in Gettysburg, PA.

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We stayed at the KOA there, which was really nice. Set back in the woods with a corner spot, we had a lot of privacy which was nice.

Everyone in Gettysburg is really into the Civil War – for obvious reasons. Even the gentleman that showed us to our campsite and helped us park introduced himself as the general that he plays when they do their reenactments in town…it was cute/neat! Plus, so many people in town were dressed up in Civil War attire.

The first night there, we walked around the battlefield for a few hours…it was so much bigger and more wide spread than we anticipated. Despite walking around for hours, we probably saw less than half the area it covered. There were stones and memorials everywhere…scattered throughout the fields and woods. Everywhere you looked.

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Gettysburg

The second day started off with an amazing breakfast sandwich, made by Chef Donnie. Sausage, egg, cheese, kale, garlic, onions….yum.

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Then for dinner, Chef Donnie was at it again…making Ribs and roasted onions over the campfire while Dana made quinoa and kale. It’s so amazing having a full kitchen while camping. Though we still love the char-grilled fire taste and will always utilize our fires when possible!!

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After dinner, we decided to do a ghost tour…since we were in one of the most (if not THE most) haunted places in the country! It took some convincing to get Dana to go along…but she finally decided it could be fun! Unfortunately, though Gettysburg was very dog friendly, and Solomon was able to go anywhere on and throughout the battlefields and town with us, he was not quite old enough for the ghost tour.

We did the tour through the Farnsworth House right in town. Our guide was dressed in civil war attire and had all the tools we’d need to detect any kind of paranormal activity. There were about 7 of us on the tour and each of us had our own set of dousing rods, a flashlight, a voice recorder, an electromagnetic detector, a night vision scope, and a laser thermometer.

We had a short orientation in a creepy cellar, where our guide went over each of the tools we had and briefly discussed the history of the area we would be setting out to explore. Then we set out.

We were on what is now school property in the town of Gettysburg, but was once the ground where the battle of Chapel Hill was fought. We started together, both picking up various electromagnetic readings, but not much else…then we slowly wandered in opposite directions. Donnie was also using an App on his phone that detected words, and he picked up interesting and fitting words, such as “July” and peoples names. While Dana was getting extremely high electromagnetic pulses in one area, so she pulled out her thermometer and pointed it at the ground where the readings were the strongest…and it was 10 degrees colder than the ground all around it. So she tried talking and recording, but got nothing. Her electromagnetic device was still spiking so she decided to take a picture to see if anything appeared, and was instantly creeped out by the appearance of a large blur of light in her picture when there was nothing or no one else around her! Spirits often show up as orbs or blurs of light similar to the one in her photo.

Dana's new friend.

Dana’s new friend.

Next Post: Virginia

Maine

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We had a long day of driving across most of New Hampshire and Maine, before reaching Acadia National Park!

We thought by taking our trip in October, we would be missing the rush of Summer vactioners…however, we forgot about the crazy Fall color chasers! Everyone comes up to New England for the beautiful Fall colors…and I can’t say I blame them!! Unfortunately the colors were just starting to change, so we didn’t get to see them in all their glory…but it did result in us only being able to get a campsite for two nights, since Friday and Saturday were already all booked up.

Our time here was awesome though.

Donnie bought 5 big soft shell lobsters for $30!! Ridiculous!! He boiled them, then cooked them over the campfire in some butter and enjoyed every last bite. Dana only got one little nibble…but that was mainly by choice!

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Lobster Maine-ia!!

The next day, we went for a nice long walk along the Park Loop Road – including climbing out on the rocks at multiple spots to check out the gorgeous views. Despite there being rain in the forecast, we saw no sign of it!

Panorama by Donnie

Panorama by Donnie

Gorgeous Coast from the look out near our campground!

Gorgeous Coast from the look out near our campground!

Walking along the beach near the Park Loop Road

Walking along the beach near the Park Loop Road

Solly Bear swimming in the Atlantic Ocean with his saddle bags on! Silly man, kept drinking the water!!

Solly Bear swimming in the Atlantic Ocean with his saddle bags on! Silly man, kept drinking the water!!

King of the Rock!

King of the Rock!

After our walk, we went for a drive to get some groceries…but we didn’t find a grocery store…instead we found a winery/cafe! We were super hungry…so we couldn’t pass it up! And we were soooo glad we didn’t!

If you ever go to Maine – go to Sweet Pea Cafe at Bar Harbor Cellars….for real!!

They had the most beautiful patio that we were allowed to sit on with Solomon, that over looked a field, pond, and their little vineyard. Plus wine made right there. Plus an awesomely unique menu compiled mostly of fresh products from right there. Fresh produce they or their neighbors grew. Eggs and chicken fresh from the chicken coop out back…it was really cool. And delicious. And service was great. Ohhh and, there was a coffee roaster in the building next door, so we topped off our almost 3 hour meal, with fresh amazing coffee. We were in Heaven.

A Little Glimpse of Our Heaven

A Little Glimpse of Our Heaven

When we got back to our campsite, we had new neighbors…The Dibble’s that we had met at our campground in New Hampshire were in the campsite right next to us!! How ironic…small world!!

We walked back to the coast for the sunset, though it was mostly blocked from our angle, so we went back and had a little campfire and just hung out and relaxed.

These three pictures were the favorites...better than the uneventful sunset ones taken!

These three pictures were the favorites…better than the uneventful sunset ones taken!

The next morning, we packed up and hit the road. It was a slow going day, with lots of rain, so we only made it as far as Saco, Maine where we stayed at the KOA. But not before making a nice stop at the L.L.Bean Flagship store in Freeport.

Das Boot.

Das Boot.

It was worth the stop, but we almost didn’t make it, since our GPS attempted to take us on a Ferry! Eeeek! We ended up needing to reverse down a small rural street, after reaching a dead end at a small ferry port – with no warning signs before getting there. That was our truck’s navigation systems first strike!

Next Page: Gettysburg

New Hampshire

Our Site.

Our Site.

We highly under estimated New Hampshire and wish we had more time to explore here!

It was beautiful, and the colors were starting to change up in the mountains, making for a nice drive!

We spent the night at Lost River Valley Campground in North Woodstock. It was a really nice campground and our site was right on the river. Unfortunately we got in pretty late and left in the morning, so other than a nice Solly walk around the campground before we left, we didn’t get to experience it much. Though we did meet the friendly Dibble’s with their dog Isabella!

Donnie did make quite the meal for our first night though. Using our new and freshly seasoned (thanks to Pa) cast iron skillet, he made cod with carrots and brussel sprouts; then I made some mashed potatoes to go with it. It was amazing!! Then of course, s’mores for dessert.

New Hampshire…we will be back!

River - our site in the background!

River – our site in the background!

Amazing Dinner by Chef Donnie!

Amazing Dinner by Chef Donnie!

Wonderful First Fire and Frontier Dish Washing....

Wonderful First Fire and Frontier Dish Washing….

Next Page: Maine

New York

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Lewis Clan Selfie Stick! Donnie and Heather are a little cut off…whoops!

Before really hitting the road, we went to Liverpool, NY to visit family and friends!

We had a roller coaster of emotions in just 10 days there. Donnie had to say goodbye to one of his best childhood friends, Andy, who lost his battle with cancer; but he was honored with a reunion down by the lake.

Overall it was a great time spent with family, relaxing and rejuvenating after the stressful last few nights in Michigan!

Solomon was in all his glory with his best friend Rolo. Their reunion couldn’t have been cuter, as they locked arms as if hugging for a couple seconds before diving right into full play mode. They hardly let up all week, and things just got crazier when their cousin Avalon joined the mix. He got binky from Pa, Aunt Jamie, and Uncle Scott. Lots of cuddles and “nice’s” from PaGramma. And there were tons of puppy cuddles for everyone!

We had Wine Sunday two weeks in a row, full of football, yummy food, and lots of laughs. And all the Lewis kids got to be together for a bit!

Plus, Aunt Jamie washed our truck and got it all ready for our adventure!

How we were woken up every morning!

How we were woken up every morning!

Uncle Donnie Cuddles!

Uncle Donnie Cuddles!

Good Babes!

Good Babes!

Can we come outside?

Can we come outside?

Friends!

Friends!

Snoring on Aunt Dana!

Snoring on Aunt Dana!

Little Lap Dog!

Little Lap Dog!

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Is there room for a third!?

Is there room for a third!?

Plenty of room!

Plenty of room!

At some point...Pa ended up with lipstick on...!?

At some point…Pa ended up with lipstick on…!?

Lipstick kisses!

Lipstick kisses!

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Gramma's Lap is the best!

Gramma’s Lap is the best!

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Aunt Jamie Rocks!

Aunt Jamie Rocks!

Next Page: New Hampshire