Rosie a Bearded Man and Bunnies

As most of you know, Rosie is stored in a barn during the winter and gets released once the snow has left but while the ground is still slightly frozen. This spring, we needed to get her out slightly earlier than usual because she needed her state inspection before taking off on camping adventures. Release date was April 9th and there was still just a bit of snow on the ground but she had an appointment so it was time to let her out into the sunshine.

On April 11th, I left for Sweden with my friend, Patty, leaving Ray to bring Rosie in for her appointment. He would also have her back home by the time we returned. While she was having her inspection at VT Country Campers, we also asked them to check out the wiring of the tail lights. The left tail light tends to flicker from time to time and we aren’t quite sure why. Surprisingly, the mechanics found nothing wrong with the lights and so we assume we need to check our connections a bit better when plugging in to the Tahoe. However, she did need to have the wheel bearings greased. She’s now good for another season of camping.

Ray sent me pictures of the day she came home. It seems that some short, white-bearded man hitched a ride.

Surprise, surprise it’s Tomten! The first time we celebrated Christmas in Sweden, Ray became fascinated with these little guys. Of course, he had to make one himself and when we are at home for Christmas, Tomten welcomes visitors and wishes them a Merry Christmas. Evidently, our Tomten doesn’t just make an appearance at Christmas but enjoys camping too.

Swedish Traditions; The TOMTEN (or Tomte)

“Tomten”

Tomten belongs to the family of elves and other little “brownies” A friendly “tomte” meant a lot to the farmer and his family, he saw to it that the animals were well, he made sure the servants awakened in the early morning hours. These and many other good deeds and fortunes were the work of the “tomten.”

The time between Lucia and Christmas was really “tomtarnas” special time. Therefore – during this time they must be cared for in a extraordinary way. The “tomten” received his special Grötfat (plate of porridge). At present that is probably the only way that ties the little gray “tomte” to Christmas.

Obviously,  Tomten is the bearded man from this title and you are probably thinking that the bunnies are one of the small animals that he keeps watch over. You would be wrong in that assumption. The bunnies are ceramic door knobs and were given to me by my son, Jason, while I was in Sweden. I used to have a bunny when I was younger and even though I am allergic to them, I still think they are very cute. My son’s wife, Maria, also likes bunnies. Actually, it was Maria’s idea that I might like the bunny door knobs, she has some herself. I debated about which room in my home would have the bunnies and after looking around, realized that they would be best in Rosie. Aren’t they just the cutest thing ever? They make me smile.

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I hope you enjoyed this little story, thanks for reading. By the way, Patty and I had a wonderful time in Sweden, visiting my family, friends and showing her some of my favorite stores, shops and introducing her to Fika.

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First Camping Trip of the Season and the Road to the BRR 2016

For the last two years, the first camping trip of the season has been the Blue Ridge Rally and this year is no exception. It’s taken me some time to download the photos and while the memories are imprinted in my mind, the details often escape me. We departed as soon as Patty and her mother, Elaine, arrived at our house. As you can see by the trees, Spring had just barely arrived in Vermont.

We planned our trip to include Elaine’s first boon docking in a Walmart parking lot and to visit Jamestown, VA.

We booked two nights at Chippokes Plantation Campground in Virginia. This was a lovely campground, quiet, spacious sites, nice bathrooms and showers and one I’d like to visit again.

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This campground had the neatest grill. Not only did it have a grate to cook on but it was attached so that it could be raised or lowered to suit your cooking needs.  We grilled corn on the cob and sirloin steak strips. The tall black pole in the photo on the far right shows how high it can be raised.

 

Ray and I took the round-trip ferry (free) over to Jamestown and did a bit of sight-seeing while Patty and Elaine rested for the day.

We spent most of the day at the Jamestown Settlement near the site of the original Jamestown site. It was an informative and enjoyable day. There is a lot of commonality amongst the historic villages in New England and Virginia.

We arrived at the BRR in North Carolina just in time for Happy Hour. I was having such a good time catching up with old friends, meeting new friends and all the activities that Sharon (our camp host) planned that I didn’t stop to take many photos. On one free, foggy, morning a few of us drove up to Mt Mitchell. Despite one of us not wanting to continue up the narrow road in the rain and clouds we had a lovely lunch on top at the Mt Mitchell restaurant.

I hope you enjoyed this brief story about a wonderful week-long trip. Thanks for reading.

 

Spring Updates

Because of the extremely mild winter and lack of snow, Rosie was released from the barn in March. We knew that there might be a possibility of additional snow but decided to take the chance while the ground was still frozen. And, wouldn’t you know it less than a week after we brought her home—-it snowed.

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I have to admit she does look pretty with the snow falling on her.

The updates for this year do not fall under the category of modifications but more like repair and comfort. When we purchased her three years ago, she was missing some of the black stripping on the right rear side. Then on one of our trips we heard a flap, flap noise and stopped to check and discovered that a piece on the left rear was coming loose. It was flapping against the back and leaving black marks when did wash away. Ray removed that piece and set it aside. I knew the stripping was cosmetic so it wasn’t on the top of my “Rosie to-do list.” I also knew this was a stock item for Little Guy since all the T@B’s have the stripping too. Since we had weeks before we needed toIMG_3968 leave for the annual BRR (Blue Ridge Rally) I ordered 30ft of black stripping.

 

Doesn’t look like much to get excited about, does it?

 

 

However, look at the nice job Ray did in applying the stripping.

 

The other item I ordered falls under the comfort category. Our mattress was not the standard futon that came with most T@DA’s, no doubt because we bought it used. Instead it was a piece of bare foam. I would air it out each year letting the sunshine freshen it up before making the bed. I would also add our zip-together sleeping bag (turned inside out so it wouldn’t slide under the sheets) for a little extra cushioning and cover it all with a mattress pad before putting the sheets and comforter on the bed. This was fine but I really wanted a new mattress. After consultation with other T@DA owners I contacted Jeremy at Mattress Insider and ordered a custom-made foam mattress with an organic cotton cover. Here’s what it looks like after taking it out of the box.IMG_3967

I opened the package, unrolled the mattress and allowed it to return to its shape for before putting it in the camper. Several people I talked with are also using a memory-foam topper as well but we decided to try it as-is first.

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading.

 

T-Zero

Rosie has been in winter storage since October 2015. Had we known that we were having a mild and green Christmas (temperatures were in the 60’s and there was no sign of snow) we would have accumulated a few more trips before the long Vermont winter. But, we didn’t know.

That doesn’t mean we haven’t been thinking about camping so I thought it was time to write a quick post about a couple new additions. Before Rosie was put away for the winter, she received some LED lights purchased from Amazon. The lights do not burn as hot as the original ones and also use far less energy thereby increasing our battery life when boon docking. They came in a pack of 10 with 3 different kinds of adaptors to plug into your particular light source. I know very little about the correct terminology but knew which ones to use for us. It was quite simple to pull out the original lights and insert the new plug with LED light attached, then simply screw the glass cover back over the LED units.

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For some time I had been thinking about decorating the exterior of Rosie. I really like polka dots and that was my first choice,  I just hadn’t decided what color or sizes of dots to use. The options are extensive. All the same color or mixed colors, all the same size or a variety. So many options. I couldn’t make up my mind.

You may remember my post from the Blue Ridge Rally at Big Meadow Campground where we had the option to paint signs in the shape of our campers. I knew what I wanted on the sign but am not gifted in the drawing/painting department. Fortunately, I was sitting beside Debbie Wetzel, also from VT, and she hand-painted the sign for me. Over the course of the summer camping season, I finalized my decision for the exterior of Rosie based on that sign.

I brought a photo of my sign to our local decal place, Yipes Stripes. Ashley, the woman in the photos, found a design in her files that is a very close match to what Debbie had painted. We decided on one large rose with smaller roses and tendrils. The big rose is on the left side of the camper as our the flowers and tendrils at the corner window. On the right side/door side of the camper is one small rose. I’m very happy with my decision, the decal and how well it matches the sign.

While visiting my son in Sweden this past November, he presented me with a large clothespin to be hung inside the camper. It even has a notch on the back for ease in mounting. As you can guess from the picture of the clothespin, he was expecting me to go with the polka dot theme.

One of my Christmas gifts to be used in the camper, also from Sweden, are these pretty cups. Each has a different pattern on the outside, solid color on the inside and are 3 ½” high, probably holds 8 ounces.

The last new item for Rosie is a fleece blanket. It’s a no-sew blanket kit. I’d seen them before at Jo-Ann’s Fabrics but didn’t pay much attention until two particular things caught my attention. I admit the first was the 50% off sign. Well, of course, I have to look in the bin with that sign. Original price was $29.99. The next was finding the camper theme. The color is a lighter shade of blue than the exterior of Rosie but, hey, it’s blue and it’s camper related. It was super-easy to do in one evening while watching television, if you don’t mind sitting on the floor while cutting 1″ strips of fleece all around the material and then hand-tying each set of 1″ strips. I persuaded my husband to help tie the knots so it went even faster.

That brings me to the end of this first blog post of 2016. Oh, for those of you that haven’t forgotten the title of this blog let me tell you what it stands for. A co-worker had given a 3-week notice at work and I joked with her one day asking her if she had a count-down clock. She smiled, picked up her phone and showed me an app called T-Zero. It’s available for free in the App Store. Here’s my countdown until we leave for the 2016 Blue Ridge Rally.

T-Zero

Acadia National Park and Popham Beach

The last week of June, we went to Acadia National Park with our friends Patty and Mark. We had planned this trip for almost a year and couldn’t wait for it to begin. The day of departure was raining but what did we care, we were on our way to camp in Maine and we wouldn’t be sleeping in tents. It’s about a 6hr drive plus a few potty breaks, lunch and refueling for the vehicles. It was still raining when we arrived at Mt Desert Campground. Patty and Mark’s site was pretty much a straight shot backing up and it didn’t take them long at all. Our site though was following a pattern of being the more difficult site to get into this summer. It was actually confusing trying to figure out which way to enter; there was entry on either side of a couple trees. I almost thought it was a drive-through except a huge tree was right in the way of the turn I’d need to make after unhooking the trailer. So, after about an hour—at least!—I got the camper backed into its’ site. It was challenging because of the downpour, puddles, angles and big tree routes sticking out of the ground.

Wet arrival at Mt Desert Campground

Wet arrival at Mt Desert Campground

Challenging spot to back into with all the roots

Challenging spot to back into with all the roots

The ground was particularly sloped as you can see by the photos of the camper once it’s unhitched.

How low can it go?

How low can it go?

Believe it or not the camper is level

Believe it or not the camper is level

After breakfast the next morning, we headed to the visitor center at Acadia National Park. Last year, Ray and I had bought an annual pass and were fortunate enough that it wouldn’t expire until June 30th. We got in under the wire by a week! We watched the video that talks about the creation of the park and the various activities to do while enjoying the natural beauty of Acadia—not ARCADIA as some are prone to call it. We also purchased a few souvenirs then made our way to Jordan Pond House to walk the 3 mile trail around the pond.

Ray

Ray

Mark and Patty

Mark and Patty

Ellalou on the rocks

Ellalou on the rocks

Bridge at the center of the Jordan Pond trail

Bridge at the center of the Jordan Pond trail

Ellalou and Ray on the bridge

Ellalou and Ray on the bridge

Jordan Pond House our start and our destination

Jordan Pond House our start and our destination

After the walk we rewarded ourselves with their famous popovers—I had blueberry crisp since I’m allergic to eggs.

Jordan Pond popover

Jordan Pond popover

I think Patty likes the popovers and tea

I think Patty likes the popovers and tea

Jordan Pond blueberry crisp and blueberry tea

Jordan Pond blueberry crisp and blueberry tea

Later that day, we went back to the campground and set up our tent. This would be our first time setting up and normally we would do a trial run at home but the tent arrived the day before we were leaving. We already have an awning and a visor so we were pretty familiar with how the PahaQue’ products worked. Once we figured out which was the right side to put in the lower keder rail, the rest went pretty smoothly. As you can see from the pictures, we probably should have extended the guy lines but the ground was so uneven, I don’t think it would have mattered much. A little trivia-our tent room was the first one made after the prototype! Hmmm, I wondered it its numbered?

Tent room is up

Tent room is up

Lots of ventilation

Lots of ventilation

Lots of space inside

Lots of space inside

It seems no matter where we went in  Acadia we encountered gorgeous views. From the popular sandy beach that is unusual and pleasantly unexpected to find in northern Maine to the carriage roads, stone bridges, and ocean vistas, each site had its own special beauty. As you might expect, the ocean water is borderline freezing  and only children who seem to be immune to the cold temps were playing in the ocean. Oh, right there were also four adults who refuse to believe they are getting older that splashed and played in the ocean. We are Vermont strong!

Sand Beach

Sand Beach

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Sand Beach

Sand Beach

2015-06-24 12.43.12 2015-06-24 12.43.32We brought our bicycles and went for a ride on one of the many carriage roads. Along the way, we saw a sign that led us up a short mountain that rewarded us with more great views. We could even see the cars driving up Cadillac Mountain.

Look at the views

Look at the views

Reward for biking and hiking

Reward for biking and hiking

View of Cadillac Mtn

View of Cadillac Mtn

Our five days and four nights in Acadia was coming to an end but our vacation was not. The next stop was a small campground in Phippsburg, ME. We learned about Popham Beach from a fellow T@Bber and Vermonter whom we met at the BRR back in April. What should have been a quick 3hr drive took almost twice as long. We ran into bumper-to-bumper traffic on RT 1 and the Tahoe decided to over-heat. I had just had the clutch fan replaced before we left and couldn’t believe this was happening. We pulled over to the side of the road, lifted the hood, called the mechanic and when I couldn’t reach him, called by brother-in-law for his good advice. Not much we could do other than let it cool down. Finally got through to the mechanic and he advised us to drive with the defroster on high (it was 73 degrees and there was a breeze so that wasn’t too uncomfortable for us) and leave lots of space between the vehicle in front of us and monitor the temperature gauge. We did see an ambulance go by while we were waiting for the Tahoe to cool down but still don’t know what caused the slow traffic. Anyway, we made it Popham Beach and tucked into our site. The sites are quite close together but we were there for the beach! The cute little Airstream beside Patty’s R-Pod was also from VT. The Airstream is a 1973 and the owner bought it and restored it but we weren’t offered a tour.

Sites at Popham Beach

Sites at Popham Beach

Ray's blanket turned poncho to wear around the campfire

Ray’s blanket turned poncho to wear around the campfire

The next morning, we ate breakfast then took our respective cups of coffee and tea, grabbed our chairs and still wearing our pajamas parked ourselves on the beach. What a way to start the day! A few hours later, we returned and donned our suits, water and some snacks and back to the beach we went. This is a beautiful spot and the most amazing number of sand dollars wash up on the shore. I have never found a whole sand dollar on the east coast and that day I found 27! I brought them home along with some other shells not knowing what craft project to do with them, but knowing that I couldn’t just leave them there.

More shells

More shells

Sand dollars galore

Sand dollars galore

While walking the beach that morning we also saw a pair of seagulls that were chatting away like crazy. Ray and I could just imagine that one was asking where the food was while the other was grumbling about being out so early in the morning. Patty pointed out a sea worm. I had never seen one of these before and they are yucky for lack of a better word. She placed her finger beside the worm for size comparison. The sea worm had legs! YUCK!

Gus and Gertie Gull squawking while looking for breakfast

Gus and Gertie Gull squawking while looking for breakfast

Seaworm

Seaworm

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Lonely chairs

Lonely chairs

Pre-run on the beach

Pre-run on the beach

2015-06-25 17.13.26 We had a great vacation and I hope you’ve enjoyed these few photos. If you haven’t been to Acadia, I strongly suggest you add it to your list of places to visit. There’s so much more to see and do than what I’ve written about. I also learned that I can’t wait this long to write a blog post because I forget everything that I want to say.

Just Up the Road

Last weekend, we decided to camp close to home at Little River State Park in Waterbury—only 51 miles from home, round trip.

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2015-06-06 15.51.13We have gone to Little River numerous times to hike on the history trails, snowshoe or cross-country ski in the winter, a ghost hike one Halloween but this was our first time using the campground. Since it is a state park there are no hook-ups. We’d be running on battery and using water that we added to our storage container. My friend, Patty, was going with us and her husband would join us after work on Saturday. We arrived at the campground around 6pm with plenty of time to get two campers parked, set-up and begin cooking dinner so as to relax in front of the fire after a long work week. Patty got backed in pretty quickly and was all set-up before Rosie was in her site. Yes, we arrived at the same time. Here’s what happened. Our site involved backing up a hill and then supposedly, somehow getting the camper to turn left at the crest of the hill to back into the large open site. Do you know how hard it is to back up a hill? Do you know how hard it is to back STRAIGHT up a hill? Seems like it should be relatively easy and for more experienced folks, it might be. I’m not good at estimating distances so hopefully the photo will show you how long the road was into our site. By the way, I was the one that finally got it up the hill. 🙂 No doubt because Ray was tired of trying or perhaps it was something about the grumbling I kept doing. Who knows?

2015-06-05 19.41.46It took us a couple hours to get in that position. Fortunately, you can’t see how much the road was dug up by backing up, going forward, turning, backing up, going forward, turning. . .you get the picture. Now, I was happy to have the camper at the crest of the hill and would have left it right there. Ray, however, had other ideas and knowing that we weren’t going to get the angles right to back further into the site, decided we should at least turn the camper a bit. Everyone with a T@B knows that they are easy to turn and place wherever you’d like in the campsite. We also turn Rosie regularly in our paved driveway. Seems that turning Rose on a dirt road that had recently experienced a deluge of rain the night before wasn’t going to be as easy. Note how the jockey wheel is practically buried in the photo? As you can see, Ray was successful and Rose is now turned sideways. I didn’t even want to think about how we’d get her turned around come Sunday morning.

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By 8:30pm, we had finally got set-up, dinner cooking and just settling down in front of the fire when it started to rain.

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The next morning we decided it would be fun to play tourist and eat our way through Waterbury. First stop was the local weekend flea market. 2015-06-06 15.39.27 I didn’t find anything I absolutely needed to have but Patty scored 4 cute red camping trays perfect for sandwiches for $1.00 and a small enamel saucepan for $3.50; also for her camper. Next stop was lunch at a place called Maxi’s. I didn’t take any photos there but we had a good lunch or breakfast in Ray’s case. He doesn’t get to eat eggs at home so was tickled to have them that day. It’s often good to have just a taste of chocolate after a meal so our next stop was Lake Champlain Chocolates right next to the Cabot Cheese outlet. After tasting some dark chocolate almond toffee and a salted chocolate caramel we went next door where Ray enjoyed samples of cheese and relishes. I was disappointed that they no longer served samples of maple butter. 😦 With all that chocolate, cheese and some popcorn it was time to get a little drink. Cold Hollow Cider Mill, here we come.

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2015-06-06 15.26.02  Yummy, there’s nothing better than the taste of freshly pressed apple cider. Patty’s dog Duke, had been very patient with us as we stopped and enjoyed our samples so we took him for a little walk behind the cider mill. 2015-06-06 15.19.45 Where if you get to just the right spot, you can turn around and take a picture of Camel’s Hump. Just beautiful!

Back at the campground, Mark arrived just in time for an early dinner. 2015-06-06 17.29.19 HDR Grilled asparagus, maple cured ham, roasted garlic bread, beer and s’mores for dessert. We truly enjoyed our day of eating.

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Duke in front of Patty and Mark’s RPod

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A maple moth that spent the night at Patty’s camper.

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Oh for those of you that are wondering; Ray and Mark pushed and pulled the camper around until it was in position to hook it up to the Tahoe. It’s a wonder neither of them were injured or that the camper rolled down the road and crashed into the Tahoe. I chose not to take photos but instead to stand ready in case I needed to quickly chock a wheel. What an experience! We had a lovely weekend though and Patty got her first shakedown camp out of the way before our trip to Maine next weekend. We also found a few nice pull-through spots at the campground for future reference.

Blue Ridge Rally Highlights

The neon lights on the Big Meadow Family Campground sign were a welcome sight after three days on the road. And just to make sure we were in the right place, Sharon posted her own welcome sign. She really goes all out for any rally she organizes and takes extra special care of her campers. She is the Blue Ridge Rally Queen!                              Big Meadow Welcome sign pt1                          Sharon's welcome sign

Sharon ready to do her happy dance

After checking in, it’s time to find our site, park the camper and begin setting up. What a joy it was to have a drive-thru site; no backing up required! First set up at BRR        Sign and lights on rear of Rosie There was a chance of rain so we set up the red awning which originally came with the T@B and the sign I made for the sign holder contest was posted on the rear of the camper with lights below it. Later on in the week though, we took the awning down and posted the sign beside the front door. Rosie with lights and sign I also rehung the tin can lights on the keder rail.

There were numerous activities during the week but the ones I enjoyed the most were the sign painting, the hayride and the bingo game. Sharon had cut out wooden signs in the shape of our campers, sanded and primed them and we had the fun of painting and decorating them as we desired.         base coats on sign          Debbi painting rose on sign  I knew what I wanted on my sign but do not have a steady hand when it comes to fine painting. Fortunately, Debbi Wetzel sat beside me. Plotting designs with Debbi WetzelLittle did I know that she is an artist! She volunteered to paint our names and draw the rose! Isn’t this the most beautiful sign ever? close up painted sign

T@BS and new RPod                        T@BS at campground Just a couple shots of T@B’s and RPods at the BRR. I had forgotten my camera at home and was taking photos with my iPhone. I was surprised to discover there are more pictures in my head than what were on my phone.

About 45 of the 70+ campers opted to brave the weather and go on the hayride. It was a bit chilly, the sky was overcast and the clouds looked like they were about to let loose of the rain at any moment. We were fortunate though that it did not rain and most of us had varying layers of long-sleeve shirts, sweatshirts, fleece, jackets, gloves, and blankets. Our driver could have provided us with more information about the area and former settlements but since he didn’t we enjoyed the views and made our own fun. At one point, we pulled over to let some cars go by. Turns out there were 28 cars and two bicycles following us at a very slow pace. John, Sharon and Becky on hayride   Lois, Susan, John and Sharon on hayride   on the hayride                                    legs on the hayride  Notice how bundled up we are and yet one person was wearing shorts and his wife was wearing flip flops! We had been sitting on the hay for over an hour and knew that  it would be interesting to see us all rise to a vertical position. Sharon decided the best way to do that was to simply lie down and claim she had fallen and couldn’t get up.  Sharon's fallen on the hay

My bingo experience consisted of going to a local hall where people smoking cigarettes sat in cold metal chairs with anywhere from 2-8 cards in front of them intently marking the square if their number was called. I remember it as being rather boring but Sharon had posted that every one would win a prize. We all contributed an unwrapped camping related prize and as soon as we won a bingo, we picked out a prize. One prize per person. Becky Sigmon Martin assumed the role of Bingo Mistress. There’s probably an official name for the bingo caller but there was no doubt, Becky was in charge. When she wanted our attention, she let our a piercing whistle that was probably heard 5 miles down the road. She has a teeny tiny sadistic side to her as well. For example, when calling out a number she’d draw out the word FIFTY where anyone with a 50 on their card was excited but then she’d add SEVEN so the number was actually FIFTY-SEVEN. The groans reverberated from table to table while others chuckled.  Becky calling Bingo 63 players    It took several rounds before I finally had a Bingo. After verifying my numbers, I went to the gift table and selected this item. Bingo prize     They are reflective thingies (I don’t know the real name) that will attach to guy lines so as to avoid tripping over the lines in the dark. I saw them being used on a nearby tent room and know they’ll come in handy for us too.

Saturday morning came way too soon. After saying our goodbyes, Terry and Becky decided they would form hands to prevent our leaving. Not totally trusting that I wouldn’t hit them, they broke ranks and Terry climbed into the back seat of the Tahoe. That didn’t work either as I’d gladly bring her along for the ride but she wasn’t sure that Gid would come to VT to get her.

Terry & Becky stopping us from leaving

I had a great time, reunited with old friends, made new friends, shared stories and lots of laughs. Many thanks to Sharon for hosting, organizing, planning and executing “so much fun it should be illegal” as she says. I’ll close with a few more photos.

Cheers to John and Judy Crankshaw John Lubowitz Waiting for potluck to begin Campers gather for potluck Splash Tab our campmeister's digs  Peaceful side of the smokies

The Road to the Blue Ridge Rally

I had every intention of writing daily posts as my friend and I traveled from VT to TN to attend the 8th Blue Ridge Rally. Obviously that didn’t happen so to save you all from reading one lengthy post, I’ll break it up into a couple shorter posts. Our planned departure date and time was Sunday April 26th at 10am. Since we were both eager to start this journey, we were loaded up and photo taken so as to head down the driveway at 8:45am! The wind was blowing and it was almost 45 degrees when we left. Ray surprised us with a rousing cowbell send off. I have no idea where that came from!

A chilly start to the BRR                            Ray rang a cowbell for our sendoff

Sunday was a travel day putting as many miles on as we could before our final stop for the night at the no frills 24hr SuperCenter Walmart in Hagerstown, MD. We had a lovely tree lined sight and a relatively quiet night.

Hagerstown MD WalMart camping

In the morning, we each savored our cold cereal of choice and bought a coffee to go at an IHOP in the same parking lot.                                                Frosted flakes breakfast first morning on the road    Honey Nut Cheerios for Patty                             IHOP for Ray

Monday was a day to take our time and enjoy some sights along the way. We stopped at the Welcome Center in VA and had a nice chat with the tourist information lady.

Welcome to VA HDR

Patty’s mom is a fan of Patsy Cline so we drove into Winchester VA to tour her childhood home. Unfortunately, it’s not open on Mondays. Here’s a photo of the house where she lived her teenage years. 800px-Patsy_Cline's_Home_in_Winchester,_VirginiaWe went into the tourist information booth in Winchester and viewed a small display of Patsy Cline records, reproduction of a sofa and chair made for her and few other items but no photography was allowed. Outside the tourist center was this early homestead replica complete with herb garden.

Early homestead in VA

Continuing down the road we stopped at Route 11 Potato Chips. We hadn’t heard of them before but they were being sold at the tourist center so we thought we might as well try them out. They were finishing their last batch of potato chips for the day when we arrived and we were able to view the fry assembly line from cutting to bagging. We also tasted some freshly made and still warm barbecue chips. The woman giving us the tour said these were sweeter than regular barbecue chips so I tried them but I’m still not a fan of barbecue and preferred the lightly salted and sweet potato chips. They also make six other flavors including one called Mama Zuma’s Revenge. Naturally after sampling potato chips we needed a beverage so we pulled off the interstate and followed the signs to Rockbridge Vineyard. There we enjoyed a wine tasting and made our preferred purchases to take home. Since I was driving, I only had two teeny, tiny samples of wine. I won’t divulge how much Patty indulged. KIDDING!

Rockbridge Vineyard                                            Parked at Rockridge winery

We did a little side trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway to enjoy the views before dropping back down to Boone, NC so I could meet up with a friend. Kim was living in NY when I met her while we were both students in the MBA program at Norwich University. I was the administrator as well as a student–busy times. Anyway, she moved to Boone and this seemed like a good time to catch-up. We met at the Appalachian Mountain Brewery. I enjoyed a nice dark beer called Turtle Island and we ate the best flatbread pizza from a food truck outside the brewery called Farm to Table.

Turtle Island beer at Applachian Mountain Brewery                       MBA friend Kim Wangler

After saying our good-bye’s, Patty and I headed over to Walmart for another night of on the road camping. The parking lot already had a couple campers settled in when we got there and a local sports bar was still open. Finding a spot that was close enough to the store and level was a challenge. It wasn’t long before Patty fell asleep and despite my many efforts, the bright light shining in the skylight was keeping me awake. I asked Patty if she minded if we moved. She mumbled no. It was obvious she wasn’t going to get up so I moved everything off the counter so it wouldn’t fall, put my sandals on and got back into the driver’s seat of the Tahoe. I slowly drove around the parking lot until I found a darker but still fairly level site, got back into the camper and went to bed. The next morning, Patty asked if I moved the camper during the night! What a laugh we had as we thought about her rolling out of bed as I drove the camper around the parking lot. With that thought, it’s time for me to get some sleep and I’ll continue this story another day.

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

I’ve never one of those people that named their cars. Seems they were all named after women too; even the female owners gave their cars female names. I just didn’t get it. When I joined the T@B yahoo site, and T@B and T@DA Facebook sites plus a few other camper FB sites; I noticed that most people were also naming their campers. For no real reason other than maybe the camper is more personal to me than a car ever has been, it made sense to assign a name. The question was how to decide? Should it be named after a beloved relative, or a pet, or a celebrity, or something cute, or clever? Should I include the T@DA name somehow? The options and ideas were endless. In Vermont, we have to register our campers and the first three letters of the license plate are ANE. That seemed simple, I could name her Annie. But, Annie had no connection to me, my husband, our families or anything else other than the license plate. We tossed around a few other ideas but nothing stuck.

Until I started thinking about our mothers; both of them enjoyed camping though neither had the luxury of a camper but instead camped in tents. I considered their nicknames, Stub, Liz, Betty but none of those seemed right either. Then I considered their middle names Agnes Rose; Agnes is my mother’s middle name and Rose is my mother-in-law’s middle name. Agnes Rose. Say it a few times out loud and it sounds pretty good together. Yes, I think that name will work.

Now comes the time to create the sign holder contest for the BRR. What better time to unveil her new name than on the sign? I purchased some sticky letters and applied the new name at the top of the sign holder. Sorry readers, I can’t share a photo of the sign with you until after I arrive at the BRR. Remember this is a contest and the winner takes home a Little Red Campfire. Though after seeing a photo of one entry; I probably don’t need to worry about leaving extra room to bring the campfire home.

little red campfire

Earlier this month, I started writing this blog. One of the first things one needs to do when creating a blog is to give it a name. I knew I was going to write about my camper experiences but Agnes Rose Camps wasn’t a very catchy title. Suddenly the word Rosiecamps came to me and that is obviously what I’m using for the blog name. Because of the name of the blog, some folks are thinking the campers name is Rosie. So, here’s what I’ve decided. The official name of the camper is Agnes Rose and her nickname is Rosie. Perfect!

LIT UP: FROM DISCARD TO DISPLAY

Today I sold the T@B party lights that were purchased when we first bought our little red T@B. They will soon be traveling across country to Washington State.IMG_0928 I still have the red awning which surprisingly fits on the T@DA and we do use it from time to time.

Last fall I purchased a pretty visor that matches the turquoise of the T@DA and wanted lights that complimented the color scheme of turquoise and gray. After searching camping stores, discount stores, and online sites, I realized I might have to make what I wanted. One long winter evening, I began scrolling through pages of light ideas on Pinterest. A page titled “Making Lights: DIY Tin Can Lanterns” caught my attention. The directions looked relatively easy, basically it was tin punching. How hard could it be? First step was to obtain 10-15 small tin cans. I solicited the aid of my sister, yup same one who lets me store the T@DA in her barn, and she began saving the small vegetable cans for me. I wasn’t sure how long it would take to punch holes in the cans and wanted to get started sooner rather than later. So, a few weekends later, a friend and I were checking out at Big Lots when I spied a shopping cart full of Hunts Tomato Sauce cans–the small ones–and they were marked down to .20. What a deal! Just think, I wouldn’t have to wait for my sister to provide me with cans and could start the project right away. I asked if we could buy them and the cashier said no, that they were to be discarded as the sale date had expired. I said, we don’t want to use the sauce anyway, but want the cans for a project. If they couldn’t be sold, could she give them to us. She looked at us like we had two heads or something and proceeded to call her manager over. I explained the situation again to the manager and she said, she could lose her job if she gave them to us because of the expiration date. She also told us that they were in the cart because they were being discarded. Not to be easily dissuaded, I asked if we could take them out of the  trash. She looked me in the eye and said, they are scheduled to be out back of the store in half an hour. My friend and I went next door to Panera Bread for a cup of tea while we waited the necessary 30 minutes. After enough time had elapsed, we drove around back and to our dismay, there were three people at the loading dock picking up some furniture. We had hoped to do our dumpster shopping in private. We slowly drove by but didn’t see the cart with the cans. We drove around again thinking maybe we were a bit early and this time, I got out and looked into the big blue dumpster. It was empty! As I walked back to the car, I looked down on the ground as something shiny caught my eye. Nestled in the snow were the cans. The cans had been tossed off the dock to land near, but not in, the dumpster. I motioned to my friend that the cans were here and we grabbed our empty Big Lots plastic bags. Yes, I even asked for the bags from the cashier so as to have them when we went dumpster diving. We collected 15 or so cans trying not to get any that were dented and laughingly went on our way.

Here you can see one of the vegetable cans with the label, then the blank can all washed and the final product punched and painted. In the second picture you can see one of those Hunts tomato cans in the background. I ended up with a lot more cans than I needed. I also called on the able assistance of my husband because it wasn’t easy putting holes in the cans. He used a drill to make the hole in the bottom of the can.  A hammer and awl was used for the holes in the side of the can. I did try to punch holes in the cans but realized I don’t know my own weakness. I did paint them though. can to light fixture                                                 step two of new lights Some holes in the bottom needed to be enlarged just a bit so that the light bulb piece could go inside. I was concerned about the lights coming out so a piece of duct tape over the top of the hole once the lights were in did the job. I tested them out in a darkened room and you can get a glimpse of what they might look like on the camper/visor in the evening.

IMG_1787

It’s been a couple days since I started this post and today my friend and I put the visor up and attached the tin can lights. It was scheduled to rain this afternoon so we took the visor down after she took one picture. I still wanted to see what the lights would look at night so I strung them over the bed and took a picture once it was dark enough. I think they are pretty darn cute!

IMG_1849                                                      IMG_1848