Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Mountains in our Future?


Cross Hill, Sc  Lakewood Greenwood Rv Resort (high 94, low 73)


It’s getting warm here and since we’re on the top of a hill with no shade, it might be time to get out of dodge and head north to the Georgia mountains.

We had intended on leaving today, but we couldn’t find a place to go that didn’t involve driving the motor home up into the mountains.   We were looking for a nice campground with easy access, and big sites that was at the foothills with lower elevations.   I figured we could then take the truck up into the mountains for a day trip, and leave the motor home tucked safely at a lower elevation.  Less nerve wracking for me.

I know, I know… are all thinking what a wuss I am.  Al recently told me I needed to “ grow a pair”.

We have had very little experience in mountain driving, since we’re Floridians and we don’t even have hills.   It’s not that I’m worried the coach will make it up the steep grades, but  I don’t like those windy, curvy roads with nothing but a big drop off on the sides.    We’re also not fond of those steep descents  back down the mountains, but we’re feeling better about that since we’re learning how how to use our exhaust brake.   Any tips are always appreciated!

I have a fear of accidently getting on a road that is not meant for big rigs, so I am going over the GPS and Streets and Trips maps to try to avoid that.  We also have a truckers atlas, but of course it never quite matches up with the Garmin Truckers Dezl GPS and the Streets and Trips programs.

Between the weather and mountain driving, I really am such a worrier.  Al wants to put me on a daily dose of Valium!


Speaking of weather, Monday turned out to be another day of of thunderstorms and another tornado watch.  Not my favorite way to spend the day, but it turned out we had very little rain and the wind wasn’t bad.  I survived another day!

We haven’t been doing much, just a little laundry, and a trip into town for a few groceries, and of course we’re making sure to get to the hot tub for happy hour.  We ended up deflating and storing the kayaks without even using them. Once the tornado watch went out the second time, we decided they would be safer stored away. 

Mr. Baxter did get to go outside on his leash the other night.  He normally goes out in his stroller, but it was buried in the back of the truck, so he got a treat and got to go for a short walk on his leash.  We don’t normally like his feet touching the ground because the fleas absolutely love  him.  We are constantly battling fleas which apparently get in on our clothes.



The red thing is his harness but we call it his “dress”.   He wouldn’t sit still for a minute, so he didn’t get to stay out very long. It was pitch dark, and I was afraid he would slip out of his harness and run off.  

That’s an ugly picture of Al, but Baxter looks cute, so he said I could post it.

al and baxter

As I type this, Al is busy making our morning green smoothie.   Baxter is eating bok choy, spinach, and dandelion greens.  He’s quite the vegetarian, isn’t he?

Al and I are about 11 months into our mostly vegan way of eating.   He has lost 24 pounds and I’ve lost 22.  It’s been a little up and down, but we got a pleasant surprise yesterday when we weighed ourselves.  Of course, after that we went to Ryans Buffet and ate way too much!  We won’t be getting on the scales today.

Tomorrow, we are either heading to Dillard, Blairsville, or Cleveland Georgia.   We are deciding on which campground we can get to the easiest and with less stress!  Wish us luck!   Any campground suggestions?


the end



  1. Karen, I can so relate. Did you see the path we took to get around Denver so we weren't driving through that traffic? Jim also mentioned the other day that I just might want to talk to my doctor about Valium. I don't think it would do any good. I do love that Baxter boy of yours. Big ole fluffy thing. Safe travels and I hope you find a great campground.

    1. Sandie, I am so glad I'm not the only one! I know you freak out because of the weather like me!

  2. When we are heading into the mountain areas and not sure of the roads I like to map it to Google Earth and can actually see the roads and move the cursor along that route will tell me the elevation.
    We have a gas coach and no engine brake, but can do them quite well. Just a little slow on the inclines so like to have a slow lane to travel in.
    Enjoy your journey.

  3. I didn't know Google Earth showed the elevation.. thanks for the tip. I've been using the satellite on my phone but no elevation shows.

  4. We stayed last fall at Pride RV (Passport America Park) in Maggie Valley, NC - in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. It's a beautiful area, and we drove up into the mountains one evening to see the elk herd.

  5. I guess I'm glad the Alfa is only 36'. We have been able to go to some RV parks that we would not have been allowed if we were any bigger. As you know we had a few scrapes and hard drives in our first few trips, but Craig has finally slowed down and stoped driving like it was a car.

    I look carefully at all maps and information. If the campground allow rigs your size, logic tells me they have to have gotten there somehow.

    On curvy mountain roads it might be best to drive separately and not tow. You would be in control of the truck driving and less stressed by being a passenger. If you have Waki Talkies you could lead and let him know if a bigger vehicle is coming from the other direction or if a turn is really tight.

    We have solved the problem of getting past the two tight turns leaving our neighborhood. I go first and let Craig know when it is all clear.

  6. Great advice from everyone. Congratulations on the weight loss, that is really wonderful, both of you!

  7. Haven't been to any of those areas, but to wish you safe travels.

    I will say I am with George. I use Google Earth before every trip. It is a great way to see the roads and look at the campground layout before arrival.

  8. Baxter is a beautiful, big cat! Good luck and safe travels...

  9. Good post - I haven't ever thought about using Google Earth but it sounds like a good idea.

    1. Also - if you get north of Georgia, you might want to get a copy of 'Mountain Directory East' that has that "…has locations and descriptions of over 300 mountain passes and steep grades in eleven eastern states.

  10. Look at in Helen Ga. Beautiful, cool area!

  11. Karen, don't let that fear stop you from seeing the places you want to see. I also have a fear of heights that I've been working to conquer. We have done quite a bit of mountain travel in the last year. One thing I do is to look ahead or at the side of the mountain instead of over the edge. I'm always more comfortable when the mountain side is out my side window but when its not I look out the drivers side and not mine. You have a great house on wheels that can easily take those mountains. I have found that it is getting easier though I don't think it will ever be without some anxiety. Also a truckers atlas is a great investment. We always check that our route through the mountains or really anywhere is a truck route. If a semi can get through it so can you. We used it a lot last year.

  12. Oh goodness. . .so, so happy to know I'm not the only one. . .gotta show this post to hubby. . .LOL!

    I do agree with Janie though. . .if a trucker can drive it. . .so can we. . .we've done a couple of pretty good grades with no problems. . .so. . .go forth and conquer.

    I do think Google Earth will be my new best friend though. . .love that I can check elevations. . .awesome!

    I add my congrats on the weight loss. . .

    ReadyToGoFullTimeRVing Blog

  13. It's true about the truckers. You could look at what mountains are accessible by interstate then you'd know the road will be big enough for you. We've taken Winnona just about everywhere including the Rockies and she's only gas but we do drive separately when the roads are steep to give her a break and the brakes a break.

  14. Grandfather mountain in Boon NC. The campground is at the foot of grandfather.

  15. We're all in the same boat. George didn't want to go over mountains, but I told him we'll never get to parts of the country that are so beautiful! We have the online version of the Mountain Directory. When we plan our route, we check the grades on that first, more to be aware and prepared. We also have a truckers GPS so that we make sure we don't go under low bridges, or tunnels, etc. George has been using both his brakes and his transmission to get us down steep grades, and I keep both of us from shaking too much :)

  16. We also use the Truckers Atlas and just take it slow when it is steep and curvy. I also pull the day shade on the passenger window when it looks scary on my side! Deep breathing and some calming tea might help soothe your nerves-- or a big shot of whiskey. LOL.


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