Cross Country Trip #3 Day 8
Our first full day at the Balloon Fiesta and it started at 4am. The schedule for today starts with the Dawn Patrol at 6am, followed by the Special Shape Rodeo at 7am. Unfamiliar with Dawn Patrol? Every morning of the Fiesta, a select handful of experienced balloonist launch from the field, in the dark, before the sun is up, to see what the wind conditions are. If the winds at ground level are more than 8mph the Dawn Patrol does not launch. Well, after getting up at 4am, convincing Adam that this was a good thing to do :), walking a 1/2 mile to the launch field and then several hundred feet onto the field in total darkness and a cold breeze, Dawn Patrol was grounded. So there we were, a little chilly, in the dark and nothing to do except wait almost an hour to see if the sun rising would cause the winds to die down. Needless to say, Adam was less than thrilled and probably thought his parents were totally nuts for dragging him out of a nice warm bed to stand in the dark and chilly air.
Cross Country Trip #3 - Day 6 & 7
Santa Fe Skies RV Park was our home for Day #5 & #6 as a pre-destination to the Balloon Fiesta. It gave us a chance to do some laundry, Rich caught up at Wells Fargo and Adam & Teddy enjoyed a day without any driving. The campground was OK, a little over grown. They had really interesting metal art pieces throughout the campground but the brush was so overgrown it was hard to enjoy them. The entrance the the campground was tight, the main road was concrete but the rest of the park was gravel and very dusty. As for "big rig friendly", parts of the park are and others parts are not. Our suggestion would be the get one of their pull-throughs if you visit with a big rig. Also, be aware that during the Balloon Fiesta time the rates for a campsite increase by $20 per night.
Cross Country Trip #3 - Days 4 & 5
Our 4th day of driving has us on I-40 in Texas with so many cool things to see from the interstate. Britten Tower is a decorative item along historic U.S. Route 66. Sometimes called the Leaning Tower of Texas, the tower was a functioning water tower that was scheduled for demolition until Ralph Britten purchased and moved it to serve as an advertisement for his truck stop. Though the truck stop is no longer in business the tower remains an attraction for those traveling I-40.
Cross Country Trip #3 - Days 1-3
On the road again....main destinations - Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, NM and Arches National Park, UT with a few minor stops along the way. First overnighter, Davy Crockett Campground in Crossville, TN. The campground is a relatively large park but the roads were quite narrow for our liking. We stayed in one of the only two pull-through sites. The site was narrow and uneven, so uneven that it prevented us from pushing out the full-wall slide due to the twist in the RV. This campground has a lot to offer during peak season as long as you are traveling in a travel trailer. For us, traveling in a large motorhome we can not give this campground our "big rig" friendly thumbs up.
Here We Are Again
This is our second 4th of July at Fries New River Trail RV Park,Fries VA. This is become an annual event as we made of 2020 reservations before we left :) We got to see many of the same campers as last year and also got to meet some new campers that will be returning next year as well. Its a nice thing when a campground is small, you get to know your neighbors.
Our 1st FMCA Rally
We finally did it....we attended our first FMCA Rally in Perry, GA. Besides this being our first rally, it was our first time boon-docking. Prior to the trip we did lots of reading, installed 8 solar panels of 180 watts each, got our Gen Turi tube for the generator, planned easy meals but we were still unsure how we would do with fresh and waste water for 5 days with three people. Keep reading to find out if we made it with our purchasing a water or a pump out :)
Too much water!
Visit #3 to Fries New River Trail RV Park.....one thing always sticks in my mind about each trip and for this one it was "water" but we will get to that later. We had a small rain storm roll through right after we arrived but by the next day we were off bike riding on the New River Trail. Not knowing how well Adam would do with bike riding (he had not rode his bicycle since he starting having seizures in 2014) we drove our car with bikes on our rack to the Gambetta parking area. From that point to Fries Junction is approx. 2.5 miles, pretty easy riding, slight incline coming back. Along this route we rode through a tunnel and over a train trestle....remember the New River Trail is a "rails to trail" bike path so the old tunnels and trestle are still there from the train days.
Back to Fries, VA
Like we said back in August of 2017, we would be a "repeat camper" and almost a year later we are back to one of our favorite campgrounds, Fries New River Trail RV Park in Fries, Virginia.
Work & Play
Our first trip to Tanglewood RV Campground in Tanglewood Park, Clemmons, NC. This park has a lot of offer, dog parks, walking/biking trails, pool, and in the late fall the "Festival of Lights". The campground has 44 full-hookup sites, campground is well maintained and during our visit the "camp hosts" were the nicest people. Helpful tip - if you are planning a visit and your RV is long, request a reservation on sites #1-7 or #38-44. The other sites are nice but they would be hard to level a long RV. We will definitely be back as this visit was a home base for Rich to work in Winston Salem for a couple of weeks.
It has been several years since we have stayed at Mama Gerties Hideaway Campground in Swannanoa, NC. The last time we stayed there the upper portion of the campground was still under construction so this time we thought we would check it out. Wow, the views are amazing. The road up to and down from the upper portion is a little nerve wracking but definitely doable, just go slow...click here to watch a dash cam video of our motorhome driving down the road.
When the weather starts to get cooler in the Carolina's it is time to head to the beach. Out of the "Big 3" Campgrounds at Myrtle Beach our favorite is Ocean Lakes Family Campground. With the popularity of RV'ing growing and our new motorhome being 44 feet it is a little harder to get a reservation without booking way ahead of time. Ocean Lakes has a lot of amenities to offer and an option that "mom" loves, a concrete pad campsite to help keep the sand outside. There are also several different events throughout the year. We have attended, the Polar Bear Plunge as spectators, one of the many Halloween weekends, as well as been a participant in their Craft Festival.
Down south again to visit with family and of course one can not go south without a stop to see "Mickey & Minnie". First stop, Sun N Fun RV Resort in Sarasota, FL. We have stayed at this campground many times over the years and is a great home base if you are visiting the Sarasota area. It's a nice campground, very popular with the "snowbirds" so forget about getting a campsite during that season. There is a huge pool, mini golf, and shuffle board and many more things to do.
We traveled to Crossville, TN and stayed at Spring Lake RV Resort to see our first "total solar eclipse". What a cool experience, cross that one off the bucket list. Spring Lake RV Resort is a very nice campground. Campground has 63 campsites, 40 of which are around a 3 acre fishing lake. Roads are gravel and well maintained. Campsites are gravel as well, again well maintain, level and roomy. We would definitely stay here again.
As with anything new there is a break-in period and RV's are no exception. During our maiden voyage to New Jersey we found a few things on the Ventana that we needed to get fixed so we decided to take a trip to Newmar Corp. in Nappanne Indiana. On the way we stayed for the first time at Fries New River Trail RV Park in Fries, Virginia.
Our Maiden Voyage
On June 20, 2017 we set out on our first vacation with our new motorhome. First stop was Misty Mountain Camp Resort in Greenwood, VA to meet up with some friends and explore the Grand Caverns in Grottoes, VA. This was campground was nicely kept, friendly employees, plenty of things for younger kids to do but a little tight to be considered "big rig" friendly park.
Our Story Began...
Our interest in owning an RV started in 2005, after getting really tired of lugging our belongings in and out of hotels for every vacation. We are a family of four, my husband, our son, our daughter and myself. Our son has autism; so traveling with him meant bringing several extra things the average family would not travel with. Our RV search started with looking at travel trailers, quickly move to looking at Class C's and then took an unexpected turn to looking at Class A's. Our first RV was a gas motorhome, 35ft Damon Daybreak, bunk model. This motorhome was one the few Class A's with bunk beds at that time.