Saturday, June 13, 2015

Back at Dunromin

 We had a quiet night, no more thunderstorms. It was overcast and 15º when we left the campground at 7:45 am..  We drove less than a km to the Westfield Harbour to get pictures of the lighthouse and the Sea Lion, a ship commissioned on Lake Chautauqua in 1985.
Traffic was light on I 90 and through Buffalo. There was no back up crossing back into Canada. There were only two cars ahead of us at Canada Customs but unfortunately the  customs officer questioned the occupants of the car immediately in front us for a good 10 minutes and eventually sent them over  for further investigation.
We had no problem.  We had only $140 to declare. We were asked the usual questions. One new one: had our cat started the trip with us?  I assured him Hunter had and offered to show his rabies certificate/Canadian papers. Not necessary.
We stopped at the Magnotta Winery in Beamsville so Jean could make a purchase.
Traffic wasn't bad all the way home. We stopped for lunch at the Service Centre on hwy 400 at King City.  We also stopped in Barrie where Jean had a short visit with her mom at Woods Park. Two more stops, for groceries at Food Basics in Orillia and for gas south of Huntsville. We were pleased to see that the price of gas had not gone up much; we paid $1.09.9 / litre. It took $155 to top up the tank.
Dunromin wildlife
We backed into  the RV port at Dunromin at 4:30 after a 523 km drive, our longest mileage day of the trip. Dunromin is somewhat  overgrown but all is well.  We couldn't see any blackflies; the mosquitoes are so thick!
We were away 29 days and travelled  5,070 km. We are disappointed that we did not complete our journey on Route 66 but did enjoy 66 in Illinois and other sights in Indiana and Kentucky. Severe weather  even hounded us our last two days in the USA. Obviously we made the right decision to alter our itinerary.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Last State: New York

There were no more storms or power outages overnight but we woke to yet another severe weather warning for upper Pennsylvania and all of New York State. There would be no outrunning it as even Ontario was in for nasty weather. It was already a muggy 17º.
We took no chances and scouted for our next campground, choosing a KOA which would have substantial facilities in the event of severe storm. We made a reservation on the internet.
We left the campground at 8:15 and continued north on I 79. We stopped in Meadville at a Walmart to do our last  personal shopping before returning to Canada. We made one more stop in Pennsylvania at a TA Truck Stop to top up the gas tank @ $2.89.9 as gas would be even more expensive in New York State. We entered New York, our 7th state on this trip, on I 90, still a toll hwy but got off at the first exit at Westfield. We arrived at the KOA at 11:30; no problem checking in so early. The campground was not busy.
After we ate lunch, we walked  approx. 1/2 km to Lake Erie. It was very foggy over the lake. We were under a severe thunderstorm warning 'til 10 pm.. The first storm came through around 4 pm.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Homeward Bound

We were back into our old RVing ways with a much earlier start: on the road at 7:15 am. to beat the heat.  It was a lovely, misty morning drive, one I would have enjoyed more if it were not for an electrical glitch. I noticed immediately on leaving the campground and pulling out onto I 79 that the turn signals were not working. We stopped at the first  rest area a few km north and checked out the light situation. The turn signals, brake lights and 4 way hazards were not working. Most likely a blown fuse.  I got out the Ford manual which was not much help. Try as I did, I could NOT find the fuse panel "under the steering wheel  to the left of the  brake pedal."  So we continued north to the next city, Clarksburg, and found a Ford Dealership. I felt really stupid telling the service dept. manager our predicament. The first lad who came out to help also couldn't find the fuse panel after much grunting and groaning on the floor  under the dashboard. He went and got a mechanic  who also searched and said he thought he saw it up under the dashboard. When I told him the instrument panel part of the dashboard lifts open.....Well, guess where the fuse panel is conveniently located!!!! Now why the manual did not read "located under the instrument panel of the dashboard."!!!!! A fuse was blown and quickly replaced. I would have had to stop anyway as I only had 15 amp fuses on board and we needed a 20 amp. The lad gave me a few extra. The dealership did not charge us for their time but we gave the two fellas who helped us $10.00 for their next coffee break. We were on our way in less than 1/2 hour.
We stopped in  Morgantown  at a Pilot station to top up  the gas tank @ $2.66.9 a gal.. It was our first ever Pilot with a Cinnabon franchise. There was no way I was leaving without one. Yum.m.m.y. We also stopped at a Walmart for groceries.
We crossed into Pennsylvania, stopped at the Welcome Center Rest Area for a map, travel guide and 2015 campground directory and ate lunch.
Traffic was very heavy around Pittsburgh but thinned out nicely north of there.  We motored on 'til 2:15 to Portersville just off I 79 and are at Bear Run Campground, a very nice one. We were able to get a site for one night. The campground is booked full for the weekend as there is a Chrysler Jeep rally. There were already several in the campground.
We travelled 303 km.The early start and stop were great as it was very hot and  humid. The power went off just before a short but nasty thunderstorm roared through... heavy rain with lots of  loud  thunder and lightning.  The power came back on about an hour later.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Travellin' The Country Music Highway

 Hunter got a gold star for last night, didn't come near me 'til 4:30 but I was awake already. It was a cool, quiet night for sleeping. The campground was down in a dip but we could see the fog clinging to the tree tops so waited 'til after 9 am. to leave. That gave me lots of time to do my emailing and finish my post as I sat over by the campground office.
We left the state park via hwy 302  which gave us an opportunity to see more of Dewey Lake.
Our planned morning sightseeing of the Country Music Highway was a bust. We detoured off hwy 302 to see Loretta Lynn's Homeplace. We followed the signs as the highways became more secondary, leading eventually to narrow gravel roads.  Much to Jean's relief, I gave up after one t-turn turnaround on a "No outlet" road, never did find Loretta's home.
Our second miss was in the town of Paintsville where we hoped to see the Country Music Highway Museum. Just our un-luck that the main street was under major construction, torn up so that we had to detour on side streets, single lane due to cars parked on both sides, you get the picture. Jean had her eyes mostly closed and I was too busy avoiding cars' protruding rear-view mirrors. We never did find. the museum and couldn't get out of town fast enough.
And so we continued our drive north on hwy 23. The rock walls beside the hwy were quite impressive. We made a short stop  in the town of Louisa to have lunch and motored on as the heat was building. Hwy 23 ended at I 64 which we took eastbound. We made the turn for home, so-to-speak. We made one stop at a Pilot station for gas @ $2.62.9 before crossing into West Virginia.
 We stopped at the Welcome Center to pick up a hwy map and travel guide, continued on I 64 to I 77 around Charleston to I 79 N. The traffic was not heavy and  there were no construction delays. We made good time, driving 320 km to Sutton where we are at a K.O.A  campground associated with the Days Hotel. We stayed at this K.O.A. in 2009 on our trip to Georgia. It was 29º when we stopped at 3:30.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A Certain Feline

A certain feline on board thought he wouldn't get scolded if he  snuggled up with Larry Lobster after his early morning antics started at 2:30!! Hunter sure knows which one of us can sleep through his antics and which one can't.  We were finally up at 5:15.

No t. storms overnight. The cold front came through; 18º this morning. "Cold front"?? The temperature only dropped a few degrees.

 We waited 'til after 9 am. for the fog to burn off before leaving the campground to continue our drive south on the Wilderness Road Heritage Highway. It was still overcast, a low cloud ceiling.  We drove less than 10 km. to the Levi Jackson Wilderness Road  State Park where we saw the very picturesque McHargue's Mill. We travelled 20 miles on the two lane  hwy 229,  also part of the Heritage Highway. It was also a winding highway but the lanes were not as narrow as hwy 169 and there was some shoulder. We picked up hwy 25 again at Barbourville and exited at Pineville to take hwy 119, a newer highway, also known as the Kingdom Come Parkway, NW along the Tennessee state line. It was a beautiful drive through the lush hills/mountains of Kentucky. The sun gradually broke through the clouds.
 We stopped in Cumberland to have our lunch, in the vicinity of  Black Mountain, elevation 4,145 ft., the highest point in Kentucky.
The remaining drive on the parkway from Cumberland to Jenkins was back on the older highway, lots of hairpin turns, climbs and descents. It was an exhilarating drive with spectacular scenery.
At Jenkins, we turned north on highway 23, the Country Music Highway, another National Scenic Byway, 232 km long. More breath taking scenery.

The highway honours country music entertainers who were born or lived along Route 23.  Some of those entertainers are Loretta Lynn, Billy Rae Cyrus, The Judds and Crystal Gayle.
We stopped  at Jenny Wiley Resort State Park on Dewey Lake for the night after travelling 293 km. We have a water and electric site @ $20.70, seniors' rate. Wi-Fi is available at the campground office. No t.v. reception but we thought it appropriate to listen to my meager selection of country western cds... Dolly and Johnny while Jean worked on her 321 pictures taken today and I previewed for my blog.

Monday, June 8, 2015

One For Our Record Book

 It was a muggy night; we needed the air conditioning on. It was 23º and overcast when I got up with Hunter at 5:20 am.. There were  a couple of brief showers before we left the campground at 9:15.  With the help of Rhonda (our G.P.S.), Jean mapped out a route on secondary highways that bypassed  both Frankfort and Lexington.  We took hwy 60 south to hwy 169 south and discovered almost immediately that the highway was not correctly identified/coloured on the map of Kentucky. Yes, it was paved but it was very narrow with absolutely no shoulder. Nada! I had to drive with the left wheels on the double centre line to avoid tree branches hitting the RV. Oncoming traffic had to steer well to the  right as the vehicles passed. It was VERY nerve racking. We got off of hwy 169 onto hwy 68 a.s.a.p.  and then onto hwy 29 but realized that all the  secondary hwys over to I 75 were grey. Not good.
We arrived in Nicholasville without incident, saw that hwy 169 had wider lanes and more traffic and decided it was our best bet out to I 75. It was until we saw the sign "Kentucky River No Bridge 5.3 miles." What??!! Jean checked the map again and sure enough in fine print were the words "Free ferry" and upon even closer examination, a small gap in the hwy line. We decided to continue and check it out as there were no  signs warning of restrictions for length, weight. As we got closer, we did see one sign for no trucks. The picture was of a large transport.  The last sign we saw that was a cause for concern was "No turnaround"! At that point we were in
 a bumper to bumper line up. It was 11:10 am..  One pick up truck
towing a long heavy duty trailer  passed coming off the ferry from the other side of the river, saw the look  of helplessness  on Jean's face and backed up to talk to us.  When I asked if he knew something we didn't, he assured us we'd get on the ferry. He did caution us that the embankment down to the ferry was steep but otherwise..... Oh dear.  One local fella walked by, stopped to talk to us, said he'd NEVER seen anything as big as us on the ferry, said there was a 24 ft. restriction!!  Really!?? We never saw a sign!! *$#*$*1 Finally, after  1 hr. 30 minutes, we arrived at the ferry and were okay to get on. In fact, one other car crossed with us. What  an experience! This one is right up there. I feel like writing a letter to the governor of Kentucky... can't afford a 125 ft, bridge....Geez!!!!! We learned a ferry had been operating at this location since 1785.
Hwy 169 remained a good width and traffic was much lighter once we crossed the river.  We arrived in the town of Richmond around 1:30, stopped for takeout lunch at McDonald's and groceries at Kroger's. I squeezed as much gas in as I could @ $2.39.9, the lowest price so far this trip.
We continued south on hwy 25 to Berea where the hwy became a National Scenic Byway, the Wilderness Road Heritage Highway, 151 km. The highway slowly climbed into the Kentucky hills as we motored south. We stopped at 3:50 at the  Budget Host Inn & Westgate  R.V. Campground in London after motoring 192 km.  A much longer day than we had planned but then ....
It was "weather aware Monday." We drove in and out of showers all day but  fortunately the downpour came about 1/2 hour after we had checked in and set up.  There was still a risk of thunderstorms. The temperature dropped to 19º.  We have full hookups and Wi-Fi for $33.70 with our Good Sam discount.  No free breakfast at this hotel, needless to say. There are a few other overnighters in this RV

Sunday, June 7, 2015

A Misty Morning

We woke well rested around 5 am, didn't get up 'til 5:30, at Hunter's insistence. He was well rested too. Time to motor on. It didn't take long for  the sun to burn off  the mist. It was 32.5º by mid-afternoon. The awning helped with the heat. Our neighbour kept their awning in. Open yesterday, it came within a few  inches of our two window awnings.
There was a little more activity in the campground as weekenders went home. A few new rigs came in.
Big neighbour
Another easy day for us. Jean did our laundry, walked around the campground, watched the French Open, did some emailing, etc. etc. I worked on my Blurb book of Japan most of the day. We enjoyed another bbq dinner, pork tenderloin.