"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Thursday, October 30, 2014

BBQ, Holloween & Turduckens

Wake Forest, NC
Falls Lake Campground
Steve was only here to get us settled into our campground where I'd be for the next 2 1/2 weeks.  He was bummed because he was looking forward to some Carolina BBQ.  He's a huge BBQ fan.  Since he had to leave to help take care of his Dad in AZ it didn't leave him much time to scout out a good place.  Luckily, there was one right on the corner not too far from the campground.  Johnson's Family BBQ is a small family owned place that smokes all their meat over hickory wood for at least 10 hours.  They make the distinction of being Eastern NC BBQ.  Didn't ask what that means.  Steve had the BBQ ribs and I had the chicken.  The Carolina method is more of a vinegar based sauce.

It was Halloween time when we arrived at the lake.  These little cuties were practicing their trick-or-treating while we were having our BBQ.
Do you know what a Turducken is?   Normally you'd see this in Louisiana, but here it is in a North Carolina grocery store.  It is a turkey stuffed with a duck that is stuffed with a chicken which is stuffed with some Cajun style stuffing.  Sometimes it's crawdad stuffing or sausage or both!  It's actually very good!  They wanted $70 for this beauty.  We'll pass.  Of course our good friends have family in Louisiana that make these.  We'll wait until we get to Louisiana in January to have some.

It's actually very yummy!!

I wanted to try this trick I saw online.  Cut some eyes out of toilet paper rolls and put some glo-stix inside.  They looked really cool.  And scary!  If we were camping with friends, I would've put some next to their trailer.  Maybe under the steps!
Falls Lake is another beautiful lake to kayak on.  Nice fall colors, protected coves.  The pooch and I had a great time paddling around.  I even spent $20 on a NC fishing license.  Didn't catch a thing!  I know it's late in the year and the water is cold, but I was hoping......


These little bugs were all over the surface, swirling around.            

Hurley loves to go out in the kayak.  He'd rather play IN the water, but he enjoys just kicking back in the sunshine.
All that kayaking makes a person hungry!  I'm really craving a steak.  I couldn't get the gas to work on the Weber Q so I made myself a fire using pinecones and pine needles to get the logs going.  It finally took off.


Oh did I eat well!!  Green beans and sweet potato topped with a little butter and
a tiny drizzle of Vermont maple syrup we picked up last month with some Pinot Grigio.

I enjoyed eating my meal by the fire.
I've spent most of my time kayaking and walking the trails around the lake.  But today, I headed to Raleigh to meet up with friends from RV Dreams, Cheryl and Mitch.  We had lunch at the Farmers Market in Raleigh and then walked through the market to see all the fresh fruit and veggies.  I brought some to bring back with me for later.  Cheryl & Mitch have been fulltime about the same as us, 4 months.  It really is amazing that all of us that planned to head out fulltime in 2014 are doing it AND loving it!  They are really nice folks and I'm sure we'll see each other in Florida next month.

Back to the water!  There's nothing like being out on the lake.  It's been a great way to enjoy the sunshine and the quiet.  What a life!  We're so lucky to be able to live this lifestyle.


 There is color everywhere here.  Color in the leaves and the pretty color in the banks.
Sun setting behind the pier.

Whoa, so much for the nice 70 degree weather!  Cold nights coming!  Here comes that Polar Plunge.  We head out on Wed to South Carolina.  Too bad the next cold weather dips down further and will be following us :-(
Nothing like home made chocolate chip cookies when it's c-c-c-cold outside!

The next day was in the low 40s, but sunny and the winds calm.  Perfect day for another hike!  The Mountains-to-Sea trail is 1000 miles that runs from the Great Smokey mountains to the Outer Banks.  I hiked just part of it today.  Crisp air, crunchy leaves.

It can be hard to hike this late in the fall.  Most of the leaves are on the ground leaving it difficult to tell where the trail is.  Can you tell in the above picture?  The trail is pretty well marked.  See the blue spot on the tree to the right?  They are painted on the trees every so often.  Sometimes you really have to look hard and do some backtracking.



All these leaves mean you need to watch the trail closely.  There are rocks and tree roots hidden by the leaves.  I tripped over the one above nicely hidden in the shadow.

Beautiful carpet of colorful leaves just for me!  This one hillside was covered in ferns.

Not sure what kind of tree this was, but the leaves were huge!  I would've liked to hike further, but this sign marked the boundary of the state park.  If I continued, I'd be in the wilderness boundary.  Since it is hunting season, I decided I didn't want to get confused with an animal with antlers.

It's been nice here, but the weather is wacky and getting colder.  I'm looking forward to Steve coming back and heading south to Florida.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Visiting Family in Virginia

Newport News, VA
Newport News Park Campground
We arrived in Virginia and are looking forward to spending time visiting Steve's family.  He was born here and still has brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins and a new great-niece.  Diesel gas has been getting cheaper the more south we go.  So far this is the cheapest we've seen.
It was getting late and we were a day ahead of our reservation at the campground so we wallydocked in Richmond which gave us the chance to meet up with Steve's Uncle Harry for dinner.  Aunt Linda wasn't feeling well and stayed home.  We went to his cousin's, Danielle's, restaurant, Grillin & Chillin Shack and had some great BBQ!  If you're in Richmond, try it out!  All homemade!

Newport News Park is a great place to spend some time.  It's perfectly located in the city but sits on many acres and a lovely lake.  Some of the sites are close enough you can put in your kayak from your campsite.  You do hear some road noise if your sites are near the water, but it's not that bad.  It's $32 a night with electric & water, right on the lake.  This is a large campground.  It was almost empty the 10 days we were there with exception of the weekend before Halloween which was a little bit busier.  It was cute that many folks decorated up their rigs and campsites.  Most of the sites are quite deep and will easily fit 40' rigs.  The downside though is that many sites are not level and the pads themselves are not in the best of shape.  No problem maneuvering through the grounds.  There is a dump station, boat launch, playgrounds, archery range, lots of bike and walking trails with historical things all around and a laundromat.  I was very impressed with the laundromat.  It was spotless, had 4 of the larger washers and dryers and they were only $1 each!  And that is $1 for an hour of drying, not 10 minutes!

Our backyard on the water, no extra charge.
We went out to dinner with Steve's brother, Mickey, and his wife Wendy.  It was Steve's birthday so we had a great time celebrating and visiting!

Wendy & Mickey
We spent some time in Virginia Beach also visiting with Steve's other brother, Jeff.  While there we walked along the boardwalk.  Strange, but it's been the first time we've been to the Ocean all year. (We used to live in CA and went a couple of times a year).  It was rather cold and windy, but it was nice to smell the salt air again.  Dogs are allowed on the boardwalk and on the beach, except during summer and festival days.  Hurley would've LOVED to tear up and down the beach and run in and out of the water, but dogs do have to be leashed.  It would've been torture if we walked him down by the surf but kept him on leash, so we just stuck to the boardwalk.
They were just putting up Christmas light displays for the holidays.  Too bad we won't see them as they get turned on at Thanksgiving, and we'll be down in South Carolina by then.  They also put up a huge holiday light display in Newport News Park that you can drive through.

While visiting with Jeff, Veronica and kids, we had a great time going over old family pictures from West Virginia where their family came from originally.  We've been able to trace it back several generations, but are stuck at one family.  I forgot to get a picture of our nephew, Alex.

Charity, Jeremy & Cassidy

Lot's of wonderful paddling.  The fall color is just getting going here.  We have been fortunate to follow it down from the Northeast.  Lots of eagles, egrets, turtles and deer here.

Our adorable new grand niece, Callie.  She is 2 months old and I finally got to hold her.  What a cutie pie!  I haven't held a baby in years!

Callie's Daddy & Mommy, Travis and Katie.

Going to the local breweries is always something we enjoy too.  Especially if they give tours.  Today we went to St. George Brewing Co., New Veterans and Beach Brewing.  It's really more Steve's thing.  I don't like beer.  I keep trying them, but they simply taste too bitter for me.  Totally repulsive.  Don't know why.  I enjoy hearing about the brewing process though and I love the hops.  If we had property again and it was in the right zone, I'd love to grow hops!  Steve's favorite, hands down, was the Hoptopus Double IPA by Beach Brewing.

This wasn't your average Hard Lemonade.  It is made with hops.
I kind of liked this one, but it was very strong!
More paddling and eagles and egrets.  Sorry some of the pictures aren't the best.  One of these days I'll get a camera that can get the shots my iPhone can't!


We had a Cousin's BBQ day and had lunch at Newport News Park in the picnic/shelter areas.

Steve, Cindy, Jeff, Christie & Mikey.

I had fun getting the kids to do some action shots!  Even the big kids (below) got in the action.

One of the many nice, paved walking/biking paths.


It's too bad this picture wasn't over the open water because I think the ducks would've really looked amazing!  It's hard to see them with the trees in the background, bur there are 6 of them.  Do you see them?  Pretty cool actually.