Monday, December 21, 2020

Annual Christmas Letter / Year in Review

Merry Christmas,

Other than “the virus”, 2020 was AMAZING!  This full-time RV lifestyle is life changing.  We were blessed to spend Christmas in Florida with my parents and Florida family.  Mom, Dad, Mike and I explored the Lion Country Safari.  The giraffes make you feel minuscule as you drive pass them and they are enormous as you have to climb a story or two (OK not two but it felt it) to hand feed them.

Mike and I stood on a beach in Cocoa Beach, at night, to watch SpaceX Falcon Starlink Mission launch from Cape Canaveral, a once in a lifetime experience.  We took my parents to Kennedy Space Center to explore the history of space exploration and see a glimpse into future space adventures.  Also in Florida, we had our good friends, Keith and Susan visit and stay with us in Tampa and went to the RV show.

As we traveled north, we stopped at Jekyll Island in Georgia to see the driftwood beach and toured Mosaic Jekyll Island community of the 1920’s.  This was an exclusive community of summer cottages for the wealthy of their time, like Rockefeller, Morgan, and Vanderbilt.  While on the island we stopped at the Georgia Sea Turtle center and saw them examine an injured turtle and witnessed a feeding.  Also in Georgia, we went to Savannah, a MUST for me.  Stood in the spot where Forest Gump sat on the bench telling his story.  Took a trolley ride and learned the history of the city.  It was amazing and I can’t wait to go back.

We stopped at Paris Island (USMC base museum) in South Carolina and Hilton Head.  My parents met us in Charleston South Carolina on their way home from for my Uncle Chuck’s funeral in Buffalo.  We took a car tour of the city.  After my parents made it home, Mike and I went to Fort Sumter and went to President Trump’s rally.  We were in Myrtle Beach (MB) for a Grand Design rally, when Covid-19 concerns started.  Had our living room slide rubber flaps replaces and slide adjusted at the MB non-rally.  We quarantined for 14-days in North Carolina before heading to Buffalo for my birthday.

Mike, Abby and I stayed in my brother’s driveway (mooch-docking) for 2 weeks in April before moving to our friend’s Keith and Susan’s driveway for a few weeks.  Mike and I had tickets for the Indy 500, but due to “the virus” we have a raincheck for the 2021 race.

We stopped in the Badlands in South Dakota on our way to Montana for the summer.  While in Montana, we visited with family.  Mike and I joined Jerry and Mary in a cowboy action shoot.  My cowgirl name is Buffalo Girl and Mike’s cowboy name is Mike Hammer (fitting for both, don’t you think?).  We also explored the Copper King Manson, Ringing Rocks and Philipsburg.  Montana wasn’t as lock-downed as other states.  Mary had to have more cancer tumors removed in early August, so we wanted to limited any exposure to the virus for her.

On our way back to Buffalo for our fall visit, we made a stop at North Dakota’s Theodore Roosevelt National Park (south unit) and traveled through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and the west coast of Michigan’s main land.  Michigan is like WNY, we love the landscape and people but their governed politics does not match our beliefs.  We plan to visit again.

On our way south for the winter, we traveled through Kentucky and visited the Creation Museum, the Ark Encounter, Mammoth Cave and the Corvette Museum.  The next stop was Tennessee, were we visited our friends, David and Carol, who live outside of Nashville.  While there we visited the Hermitage (President Andrew Jackson’s home) and took a trolley tour of Nashville.  Our next stop was Pigeon Forge / Gatlinburg area and WOW!  The fall color of the Smokey Mountains was amazing!  We spent a week in Chattanooga and took a ride on the Incline Railroad at Lookout Mountain.  We have to return since we have so much more to do in Tennessee.

This fall, we learned that Mary’s (Mike’s Mom) cancer returned.  She is currently doing Chemo until her next scan in January.  Please keep her in your prayers.

While back in our residential city of Crestview Florida, we visited with Mike’s cousin Ryan and his family for a week.  Isn’t it funny that both of them are from Montana and now call their home Florida and the same city?  Keith, Susan, and Susan’s son, Matt, came out to visit us for Thanksgiving.

We are currently traveling down Florida to spend Christmas with my parents and Florida family.

Mike, Abby and I have a blog…  We are also on Facebook and Instagram (both Enjoying Our Devine Life), so please be sure to like and follow our blog and pages.   

Merry Christmas and Blessed New Year,
Mike, Abby and Melissa

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Tennessee Part 2: Smokey Mountains, Gatlinburg & Chattanooga

We stayed at Douglass Dam Headwater Campground in Sevierville TN, just outside of Pigeon Forge.  We stayed for 7 nights (a week) with 30 AMP and water for $179, plus dump station access.

Mike and I were selective on our site seeing as there is so much to do in Pigeon Forge, like Dollywood, the Titanic, Hatfield and McCoy dinner theater, museums, and a ton of tourist attractions.  So we went with FREE, which was a drive through the Smokey Mountains National Park.  In our 3 hour round trip, we drove the Blue Ridge Parkway.  I suggest visiting in October – November to see the autumn colors line the mountain sides.

Gatlinburg is not far, as well.  So we decided to take the ski-lift chair to Anakeesta.  We did the express pass and reserve time, so we didn’t have to stand in line to long.  It was about $20 + per person and that included the lift up and down, walk on the plank suspension bridges, and climb up the tower.  We enjoyed a huge brownie sundae for $7 at Pearl’s Pie in the Sky; worth every delicious bite.

Then we traveled to Jasper, TN, just outside of Chattanooga, where we stayed at Marion County Park for 50 AMP and water for 6 nights for a total of $124.51, plus access to the dump station.  This campsite is right on the Tennessee River but close to highway 24, so some road noise. 

Look at that view.

Mike and I took a ride to Lookout Mountain and went on the Incline Railroad that was $10 each (a $5 discount for their 125th Anniversary weekend celebration).  At the top on the ride, about 3 blocks to the right, is Point Park, a National Park and a Civil War marker for the “Battle Above the Clouds”.  It cost to get into the park, $10 per person, so we decided not to waste our time and money.  We are going to save Rock City and Ruby Falls for our next visit.  That was a hint that we will be back some day.

Thank you and God bless.

Monday, December 7, 2020

Tennessee Part 1: The Hermitage and Nashville

Mike, Abby and I were blessed to stay with friends, David and Carol (plus Molly the doggy), just outside of Nashville for a week.  While there Mike and I spent a day on the grounds of The Hermitage, President Andrew Jackson’s estate, for $15 each.  We could have paid more to tour the inside of the mansion but wanted to save some money for Nashville visit.  Beautiful grounds, great exercise and learned about history, but too expensive for what you get.

Mike and I went to Nashville for the day.  We paid about $79 for both of us to take the Old Time Trolley (Hop on Hop off) ride.  The trolley ride is a tour through town and gives you highlighted history of the area.  We enjoy this for exploring a new city, highly recommend; worth the money.  Parking for the day was $40, a bit much or ALOT.  While in Nashville, we saw the Ryman Auditorium (birth place of the Grand Old Opry), Tootsie’s, the Music Walk of Fame, the Parthenon in Centennial Park, Belmont Manson and University.  Mike and I had lunch and walked around the Bicentennial Capital Mall State Park and admired the Tennessee history wall and WW2 memorial.  We look forward to going back to explore museums.  This is a city you could visit several times and experience something new each time.

Thank you and God bless.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Mammoth Cave & Bowling Green Corvette Museum (Kentucky Part 2)

We stayed at Diamond Caverns RV Resort & Golf, a Thousand Trails park, so 14-day full hook-ups stay for free with the membership.  This campground is just minutes to Mammoth Cave National Park and about 40 minutes to the Bowling Green Corvette Museum.

Mike and I went on the Mammoth Cave Extended Historic self-guided Tour for $18 each.  On the tour we saw the Rotunda, the Water Clock, the Giants Coffin and TB Huts.  Rangers were scattered about, so you could ask questions or they would give you history about that area of the cave.  The tour was about two hours.  It was nice.  I think a little pricey.

We decided to take a ride to Bowling Green and tour the Corvette Museum.  It was $12 per person for a self-guided tour.  We witnessed a few new owners take possession of their new corvette with fan fair, pretty exciting for them.  I can only dream that would be us some day.  If you recall, this is the museum that a sink hole swallowed some cars a few years back.  I like that they incorporated that into an exhibit in the museum.  I thought the price was good and the exhibits where well done; worth it.

Thank you and God bless.