August 28 to 30, 2018 – Bristol TN to Mt. Solon VA past Harper’s Ferry WV to Rockville MD

The town of Bristol lies partly in Tennessee and partly in Virginia so we were not even out of town yet before we crossed into Virginia. I ooh and aah through every state, but every time I travel through western Virginia I think it is one of the prettiest places in the world.  Of course, it is a matter of taste.  My taste runs toward farmland, hills, cows, and trees. Throw in some quaint towns and old farmhouses and I am in heaven. The New River Valley, then the Roanoke Valley, and then the Shenandoah Valley, oh boy!

The only negative was that we were on the interstate most of the time and there was a lot of traffic.  Tractor-trailer trucks one after the other. I had to keep my eyes on the road.

We had not been to visit Joe since before we bought Sao since we could not get her up the driveway.  Scamp had no trouble until the top when we had to go under some low tree branches.  I backed up when we seemed to be stuck and went on the other side of the tree.  We did prune a crepe myrtle a bit that way.

Joe’s house is about as well placed as a house can be.  It sits upon a high hill with valley views all around.  The house has windows to take in the views too. While Andy and Joe were in the kitchen discussing nuclear physics and Einstein, I went outside and took pictures all around the house.  Here, they are in no particular order and some might repeat or overlap.

This is the view through the grapevine behind Scamp.

This is from the front yard. The photo does not show the valley behind the green trees or how steep the hill is.

This is from the side of the house.  There is a steep hillside beyond the fence and the far green field is up the next hill.

This is from almost the same spot but looking more to the back of the house.

That is Mossy Creek way down the hill.

I took a walk part way down the driveway.  Again, this photo makes the landscape look much flatter than it actually is. The distant fields are on the next hill over.

Here is Scamp parked next to the house.

Joe no longer raises cattle but rents out his pastures to a neighbor.  I love how they stop and stare.

The four ponies are rescued animals.  I think Joe said his daughter arranged for them to live in the pasture around the house. I took the picture through the window screen.

Here, from the front yard, I zoomed to get the distance blue ridges between the far hills.

Grape season is over, but there were still plenty hanging on the vine.  They are Concord grapes. Joe said they had cut back the vines and the new growth produced small seedless grapes.  They are delicious and I spent a lot of time picking off still-plump ones and filling my tummy.

Joe and Andy posed for me as we were leaving.  I had them stand in the shade of the garage.  They squinted in the morning light anyway.

We left for Maryland on August 30. It took us about five hours to get to Son Andrew’s house.  The grandchildren are getting so big we can hardly call them children anymore.

August 27, 2018 – Hurricane Mills, Tennessee to Bristol, Tennessee

Another driving day.  All interstate again; the best when you just want to cover ground.  But, we must make a trip with NO interstate highways some time. We took off at 0930 Eastern time and covered 405 miles before pulling into Shadrack RV Park near the Bristol Motor Speedway at 1850.  It is BIG!

Image result for bristol motor speedway

Image result for bristol motor speedway

Andy was planning to go a few more miles, but I got tired and wanted to stop early. I’m glad we didn’t come here on a race day, or the RV park would have been full of race fans.

August 26, 2018 – Loretta Lynn Ranch – Hurricane, Tennessee

We couldn’t stop at the home of the most famous country music singer ever without taking the tour.  This is a large complex.

This large statue stands near the museum building.  There was no mention of it anywhere.  I suppose it has something to do with he partial Cherokee heritage.

We were scheduled for the 1130 tour and spent our waiting time in the large museum. There was a touring bus in there and several other vehicles she owned. There was another bus parked outside and one in the driveway of her home.

There were six bunks (three on each side, stacked) between the living quarters and her bedroom and bathroom.

The orange chair was sitting before a dressing table.

This is the dress that goes with her latest album.

We waited for the tour guide next to the Duck River and the old mill building.

Our first stop was a replica of the cabin where she grew up, which plays large in “Coal Miner’s Daughter”.  There is even a well “where I drew water”. I believe this replica was built for the movie about he life, “Coal Miner’s Daughter”.

Here is the living room, left and right.

Dining room.

Here’s a look out the kitchen door to the back porch.

I have seen walls papered with newspaper and magazine pages in other old homes.  The tour guide said today that they could not afford wall paper and this kept the wind from blowing through the walls. I wonder what they used for glue.

Our next stop was a replica coal mine which I did not enjoy or appreciate. Then we moved on to the mansion.  I was surprised to see the carriage collection, but there was a huge horse stable close by.

As we walked up to the house, the tour guide pointed out a small building.  It was husband Doo’s office and man cave. I captured most of it through the window.

Thee was another small building across a small lawn but it was not addressed.

We entered through the kitchen door on the side of the house.

This may be the largest kitchen I have ever seen in a normal house. It was also a bit odd.  This section is one long wall of counter and cabinets, with the kitchen sink.

The rest of the kitchen was around the far wall.  Everything BUT the kitchen sink.

The dining room is lovely.

This bathroom is between the kitchen and dining room.

This den is on the opposite side of the double-sided fireplace in the kitchen. That’s the hearth at the bottom left.

I also like the living room. Left,

and right.

I also thought it extremely odd that that the master bedroom is just inside the front door.

We left the building through the front door and the beautiful view . . .

. . .from this fabulous front porch!

I snapped this shot from the bus as we were driving out the driveway.

Our next stop was the large museum building to finish looking there.  It is filled with costumes, guitars, awards, and gifts from other music stars and fans. That woman NEVER throws anything away. I didn’t take pictures of them, but the house is also filled with cabinets of collectibles. I love here dresses, so that’s what I’ll show you.  This is but a small portion of the dress exhibits.  She must get a new one for every concert.

We finished with the museum (quit before looking at every display) and went back to take some pictures of the front of the house. This is the gate the tour bus took us through. See the stable building to the left.

These steps lead to a sidewalk/staircase to the front door.

Here is a peek through the gate.

Here is a bit of zoom. The house is a pre-Civil War plantation house.  We did not tour upstairs, but the tour guide told us it has four bedrooms for the children and one bathroom with the only door to the balcony.

The Duck River flows by the front gate.  This is the old mill building.  The front side is a gift shop and a doll and fan museum.  More of Loretta’s collections.

Sadly, the mill water wheel is not in operation and is on display near the general store.

Some years ago, Loretta and Doo built a smaller house behind the mansion and moved into it.  I have not figured out why. I snapped this picture from Scamp as we drove out.

As we drove past the motocross track, a dirt bike flew about ten feet in the air over a mound of dirt right next to us.

August 25, 2018 – Sallisaw, OK to Loretta Lynn Ranch, Hurricane Mills, Tennessee

We were up and rolling at 0646 (I’m still on Pacific time) and went for breakfast at Braum’s.  We’ve seen them the past few days, but this is the first time we stopped.  Andy spotted the breakfast sign.  It is a combination ice cream shop, fast food (burgers), and a fresh market selling bread, milk, fruits, and veggies, etc.

We seldom do much spontaneously, however, it was too early to stop at Andy’s planned stop. Andy looked in the RV park book and found Loretta Lynn Ranch.  We decided to make that a destination and arrived at 1605 Pacific.  I’ll change my watch when we get to Eastern time. We’ll stay here two nights as it is a destination in itself.

There is not much to report about the scenery from I-40.  In Arkansas and Tennessee it is mostly lined with trees hiding whatever might be behind them.

Andy started working on his trip record as soon as we were settled in.

I went out to take a few pictures of our surroundings. Here is Scamp in our site.

This patio is just behind us.  There is a musician playing and singing out there as I write my log.  I have opened the door a few times and decided not to walk over for a better listen.

A flock of geese flew over in a nice vee.

This is the toilet/shower/laundry building.

Here is the general store.

Here is Scamp in our site again, from a different perspective.

Tomorrow we are going to take a tour.

August 24, 2018 – Tucumcari, NM to Sallisaw, Oklahoma

This was a driving day.  On the interstate.  All day. At 75 miles per hour.

We pulled out of the RV park at 0703 Pacific time and 535 miles later pulled into the RV park in Sallisaw, Oklahoma at 1658. That’s about ten hours on the road.

Andy had some sort of culinary disaster in the galley this morning and didn’t have any breakfast.  So we were not long on the road when he started looking for a place to stop and eat. We ended up in a doughnut shop and both ate one of those big chocolate-covered custard-filled doughnut confections.  I love those things yet regretted eating it as soon as I was done. Sugar bomb in my belly. I did not recover until lunch when I diluted that sugar with a veggie sub.

Just east of Tucumcari, we began to see a few agricultural fields.  We crossed into the top tip of Texas and began to see deciduous trees. Texas also has the largest field of wind mills we have ever seen. I think it went on for forty to fifty miles on Interstate 40. There were still wide panoramas to enjoy. We started seeing forests of trees and green grazing pastures when we crossed into Oklahoma. Every state is beautiful!


August 23, 2018 – Pie Town to Tucumcari, New Mexico

Happy Birthday, Susan!!!

It rained a quarter inch on the 21st.  Susan said that was when the road became too slippery to drive until some sun dried it out. Then, on the 22nd, it rained another half an inch.  The weather forecast was for rain every day until next Monday. We had resigned ourselves to being stuck in the wilderness for days.  Happily, I might add.  We were having so much fun visiting with Roy and Susan.  They seemed happy enough to have us hang around for longer than expected too. But, Andy is like a horse headed for the barn.  He wants to get home as soon as possible.

This morning, in spite of the forecast, the sun shone brightly and Roy invited me to ride the gator with him to the mailbox and check out the road conditions. The rain usually starts in the afternoon.  We headed out the long, long driveway which is in great shape because Roy keeps in graded and graveled. The subdivision road was not as good but seemed good enough to drive Scamp out.  There were just a few places that were muddy. The county road was also in good shape.  We agreed that I could drive out with no problems. Andy was ready to roll when we got back and reported our findings. So, we hurriedly packed our bags and put our stuff into the RV.

We did take a few moments for goodbyes, hugs, and pictures. Susan wanted to pose with us by Scamp.

Then I took a picture of Roy and Susan with the scenery in the background.

It was getting cloudier. Roy and Susan followed us to the county road to make sure we got out of the neighborhood alright.  If we had not, Roy could have pulled us out of a ditch with one of his tractors. The county road did have numerous muddy spots, one of them had deep muddy ruts across the road.  I was able to blast through the mud without incident. It took us forty-five minutes to get to the paved road.

There were some cattle in the road that gave me pause.  Several moved out of the road to our right.  These two stayed on the left shoulder to watch us pass. We did get a few sprinkles on the windshield along the way. Then we could see the sky darkening behind us as we headed east.

We drove back up to I-40 the way we had come so I got a chance to take pictures of some of the rock formations I missed on the way south. There are massive bluffs, but these giant boulders simply jut straight out of level ground.

This was a Large Landscape day.  Every land feature was large. Tall mountains. Massive mesas. Grazing land to the horizon.  Big sky. Grand vistas for what seemed to be hundreds of miles. I felt tiny in the middle of it all. Every time we crested a hill there was a new panorama.

We stopped in Albuquerque to eat lunch and call Susan to let her know we had made it to the pavement. We ate burritos.  The mountains east of Albuquerque were covered more densely with trees.  Then we could see forest to the horizon. I sang America the Beautiful in my mind.

We stopped for the night in an RV park in Tucumcari, New Mexico.

August 22, 2018 – Happy 82nd Birthday to Andy

Today was Andy’s REAL birthday.  That means he got candles and a song with his cake. Since we were going to be visiting friends for the big day, I bought a box cake mix to minimize the mess I would make in Susan’s kitchen.  Andy chose chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. Then, just to add a bit more chocolate, we sprinkled the top of the cake with chocolate chips. Susan and I both worked on it.  We are having so much fun being together.

Roy and Andy smiled for the camera just before the cake was set on the table.

He appears to have enjoyed the song.

It took two puffs to blow out the two candles.