Friday, July 11, 2008

Virginia Trip 2004

I am on the road again. Virginia is the target and I named this trip accordingly. I hope I will make it.
I am alone and I miss my copilot. I am starting out on the Southern route and then follow I-20. This time I did not make a computer lay out. I will wing it.
Since I am staying North of I-10 I will not see Bob Dabelow and Cliff Taylor, but will make an effort to see David Wydysh and David Lemos.
I was lucky and got an invitation to see the Predator line at General Atomics. The Predator is a small pilotless airplane, it flies over enemy terrain and takes pictures.
While there, I saw Vicki Daly, Matt Martinez, Dave Hallas, Ron Brezic, Gary Trumpeter, Paul Echeverria, Dick Schauer,Mike Rathburn and a few more, but I have a senior moment now and can not get the names right now.
Unfortunately, Jim Mousel had a day off.

I left home at 6:15 AM and arrived at Tucson at 3:30 PM. It was hot and I used the dash air conditioner as soon as I got to the mountains east of San Diego. The cruise control was set between 55 and 60 MPH and I made some long stops, one pleasant one for a date shake at Dateland.

Another driving day, I ended up in Van Horn, east of El Paso.

Today I drove through the Texas oil country. All day long I saw thousands of pumps going up and down. Some of the pumps are in peoples backyards.
The Permian Basin and its oil created a lot of wealth in Texas. In Midland I stopped and went to the oil museum. I learned a lot about the process of drilling for oil and refining it. Many pumps are standing idle. There is still oil in those wells but too expensive to get it out of the ground. Pressure, gas or hot water would have to be used.
The museum has pictures, movies and actual equipment. There is also one hall with Chaparral racing cars and tools and a pit. Chaparral was a Midland company. In Midland is George W. Bush's boyhood home.
After the museum visit I had lunch and then drove to Abilene. The RV Park is next to Dyess Air Force Base and during the afternoon B-1 bombers were flying real low over my motorhome.

I arrived at Dallas, Texas at 10:30 AM. I missed the entrance of the RV Park and drove into a gas station to turn around.
What I thought to be an exit, turned out to be a high curb. I had to unhook the car, turn the motorhome around and attach the car again. This time I did not miss the entrance of the RV Park but made the wrong turn inside the park and ended up in the mobile home section of the park. It was a dead end street. I had to unhook the car again. When I was driving the car behind the motorhome, to hook it up again, a man with an official look on his face came towards me. He asked me whether I did not see the sign for the office. I told him that I did not see any signs.
He gave me directions. I asked him to drive my car to the office. He thought about it for a moment and then he took the key.
I followed him and he guided me to a beautiful site under a large oak tree. When we passed the spot where I made the wrong turn I saw a little sign on the fence. I did not say anything; I paid my rent and I am happy that he drove the car, and gave me a good site with the Dallas skyline visible from the windows of the motorhome.
Down Town Dallas is one mile from the RV Park. That is why I picked this park.
After lunch and a nap I took the bus to the visitor center. From there I walked across the street to the John F. Kennedy Memorial.

Then I walked to the Sixth Floor Museum. It is located on the sixth floor of the former Texas School Book Depository. From there Oswald fired the shots or shot. People still do not agree on that. On the street below is a large X, showing the location where the car was when the shot was fired.

The museum has a lot of pictures from that day and also pictures from the Kennedy family. Videos are shown on TV,s and there is a small movie theater. All the information from the investigations are there, like the Warren Commission papers.
This was a somber experience. There was no noise in the museum, people walked around with sad faces.
To cheer myself up a bit I went to the West End Historic District. This is similar to Old Town, a lot of good restaurants and entertainment.

I took an early bus down town and walked to the Cattle Roundup, a life size bronze monument to the cowboys and cattle. There are three bronze cowboys and about twenty cattle. Some cattle walk through a river. It is a very beautiful sight.

Then I walked to the Visitor Center and checked my E mail. I had tried at the RV Park office but was not successful, I had forgotten that in Dallas one has to dial the area code number for a local call.
From the Visitor Center I walked across the city to the McKinney Avenue streetcar station and took the streetcar through historic Uptown. This is a fancy neighborhood with fancy restaurants and fancy stores.
Today I did a lot of walking, I made up for the last three days. Dallas is worth a visit, so is Ft. Worth, I have been in Ft. Worth a lot of times and went there to Billy Bobs Bar, the stock yards and the Amon Carter Museum, and other places. In Billy Bobs Bar a hundred couples were line dancing. There were small children and old people and all dressed up in cowboy garb.
The Amon Carter Museum has a lot of giant old Italian oil paintings. I stayed in there for a long time. Every time I had a business trip to Ft. Worth I would go to the Amon Carter.

I left the Dallas West RV Park at 5:30 AM with written instructions from the park manager. He wrote down how to get to I-20 East and the instructions were very good. Unfortunately when I got to the Interstate I missed the entrance because of barricades. There is a lot of construction going on. I tried another street but no luck. I kept on driving, hoping to get to a North and South Interstate. When I ended up in a rural neighborhood I knew I really was lost.
I turned around in a church parking lot and headed back to the city. There were no stores or a gas station to ask for directions. The idea was to get out of the city early to avoid the traffic, of course I lost that advantage by getting lost. When I saw a car coming toward me I stopped and turned the headlights off and on and waved with my hands. The car passed me, stopped and backed up. It was an elderly black gentlemen in a pick up truck. I told him my problem and he told me to go on and he would turn around and guide me. After a while he passed me and took me on I-35E to I-30 to I-45 to almost I-20.
He stopped on the shoulder before the entrance to I-20. I drove behind him and got out of the motorhome. I told him that nobody ever did something like this for me. I got help from many people on my travels, but this was more than help.
I told him not to get angry at me and to take the money for gasoline. He was driving with me for twenty minutes. I was embarrassed, I had thought he would guide me to the first Interstate and let me go, but he made sure I got to the right place.
He told me if he takes the money the lord would not recognize the good deed. I convinced him that twenty dollars would not matter much to the lord and he finally took the money. There are more good people in this world than bad people.
When I arrived at Vicksburg, Mississippi I went to the Elks lodge. I unhooked the car and went to move the motorhome into a site. The motorhome refused to start. I got the jumper cables out, got into the car, and the ignition key would not turn. I tried to remove the key and it would not come out. Moving the steering wheel would not help.
I went to the lodge and found one person under the sink in the bar. He was fixing the plumbing. I told him my sad story while he was under the sink. He finally came out and made a phone call. The person on the other side of the line told him to call Saturn.
Then he took a can of WD-40 and a pair of pliers and we went to work. We got the key out with the pliers and the ignition works again but with some jiggling. As soon as I take the key out the buzzer goes on, the little switch in the ignition switch is broke. Now it sound like the lights are on. I need a new ignition switch and a new solenoid for the motorhome.
We hooked up the car battery to the motorhome battery, that made it four batteries, with the house batteries. Nothing happened, just a clicking noise. I told the man that this happened once before when the engine was hot and somebody took a screwdriver and shortened the solenoid. He did it and the engine started.
I put the motorhome on the camping site, hooked up the electricity, put five dollars in the box and took a nap.
At 4:00 PM I went to the Vicksburg National Military Park and saw a movie about the battle of Vicksburg in the National Park Visitor Center and then I toured the battle field by car. I also went to the U.S.S. Cairo, one of the battle ships involved in the battle.

The battle of Vicksburg was very important for the Union troops, it opened up shipping on the Mississippi. Union supplies could be brought up the river.

I arrived at Meridian, Mississippi at 9:30 AM and called Cliff Taylor. He was home and I told him that I changed my mind and wanted to visit him.
He said:"Ya,all come down". I went to a RV Park, parked the motorhome, paid for two nights and put a sleeping bag and some clothing in the car and headed for Pearl River, near New Orleans.
I arrived at 2:00 PM in Pearl River and by 2:30 we were going up river looking for alligators. We saw one laying on a little island enjoying the sun.
When we got back Cliff starting preparing cat fish, which he had caught in the river. He has his own boat dock. He also made carrot salad and fresh French fries and fresh sweet potato fries. He put lemon slices under and on top of the fish, while the fish was on the grill. It tastes really good and we ate so much that there was no room for desert.
We talked for hours while sitting in the back yard and soaking in the Jacuzzi.

Huckleberry pan cakes was served for breakfast. First we picked the berries. I also ate last nights desert with the pan cakes (strawberries).
After breakfast I did my computer work and then we took a walk through the neighborhood. There are not many homes because people have many acres
of land. It is like living in a forest. I left Cliff at 10:30 AM. It is always fun to get together with him.

I left Meridian, Mississippi at 5:15 AM and arrived in Bremen, Alabama at 9:30 AM. Bremen is a small town North of Birmingham. The RV Park is on Lewis Smith Lake.
After setting up the motorhome I went by car to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville. Here is the world largest collection of space and rocket hardware. Simulators make it possible to experience the sensation of space flight.
There is a full scale mock up of the shuttle, mounted on the large tanks. In the missile park section are all the missiles used by NASA and the Army and Air Force. The Convair Atlas is on a trailer. The Saturn V is in vertical position and can be seen from many miles; it is tall.

Werner von Braun's office is on display and pictures of the original 115 "paper clip" German scientist are on the walls. V-1 and V-2 rockets are also on display.

Last night my campground neighbor asked me whether I stopped at the Mercedes Benz plant.
I had seen a big plant east of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He told me his son is in Germany training for the new line for a new M car.
So this morning I drove to Birmingham, parked the motorhome at the Elks and went to the Mercedes plant.
Because of the installation of the new line they had no plant tour, but showed a 45 minute movie. The movie included design, wind tunnel testing and building the car. 95 percent of the welding is done by robots.
All the painting is done by robots, they even open the doors and after they are finished close the doors.
The museum was worth the trip. They have a lot of cars and equipment on loan from Stuttgart. There is a copy of the motorcycle Carl Benz built and his first car. There are also cars from before the war and after the war. The racing car was admired by a lot of people.
After I went back to the motorhome I had lunch and then went on my way. In Atlanta I started on the wrong end of the I-285 loop. I had to go North and go around the city and come South again. I wasted time and besides lost another hour, by now the traffic was bad.
I finally found the street where the Elks lodge was supposed to be. When I came close to the address, I remembered that I had done this before. There is no more lodge, a shopping center or something is there now.
I kept on going and went to Stone Mountain, like we did last time when we were in Atlanta.
It is beautiful here, but expensive.

This was a driving day. It rained last night for 30 minutes and today it rained at noon. It made it difficult to drive but on the two lane highway there was no room to stop and park. The thunder storm lasted about an hour.
I took I-20 to Augusta and then went South- East on highway 278 and then 78 to Charleston, South Carolina. Magnolia trees are in bloom right now and they are growing in gardens, front lawns and along the highway I got my E mail at the office, swam, and cooked dinner.

Today I drove to the Charleston Visitor Center. This is an old converted warehouse. The city did a good job. Next to the center is a big area with a roof over it. Here all the buses and sight seeing buses stop.
I took the first city tour bus, which left at 9:15 AM. Charleston is located on a peninsula and surrounded by water. Beautiful ,big homes are along the waters edge.
Because of its harbor the city became rich and one can tell. The harbor inlet was guarded by Fort Sumter, where the first shot was fired at the beginning of the Civil War.

Charleston's nickname is the Holy City, because of the number of churches. We drove to the Citadel, the military school, which fought a battle not to admit females. They lost since the school is funded with state money.
We went to the Battery and looked over to Ft. Sumter, some of the people on the bus took a boat tour to the island.
After the bus tour I went back to the Visitor Center, got more information and explored the old town section on foot. There was no fast food restaurant in sight, no ugly bill boards, only neat old houses with beautiful flowers and blooming trees.
On the way back to the RV Park I took a detour and visited Magnolia Plantation. The gardens there are beautiful.

Rich people really could enjoy life. During the social season they moved for three months to the city, with thirty servants, and the rest of the year they traveled or stayed on the plantation.
Back at the motorhome I went to the swimming pool and then felt like cleaning the motorhome, so I vacuumed.
Since we have summer weather the air conditioner runs all day, it cools off in the evening and the two fans in the roof take over then.

I am tired; I worked hard today. After breakfast I drove to the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum. First I went to the aircraft carrier Yorktown. I climbed all over this monster of a ship. It is big.

I was the first person on the carrier, and I am glad. An hour later about a thousand school children came and had entertainment on the hanger deck. There were bands and cheer leaders.
The stairs in the carrier are very steep and one has to get a good hold of the guide rails.
I could have waited to see the aircraft carrier Midway in San Diego, but here are more ships to see.
After the Yorktown I climbed into the submarine Clamagore. I am glad I was in the Army instead of the Navy. At least I had a good size bed and did not have to share it with somebody. The Clamagore was build in 1945 and is bigger than U-505 which is located at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. But there is not much more room for the sailors.
After inspecting the submarine I was tired. There is also the destroyer Laffey, the Coast Guard cutter Ingham, and a Vietnam Base Camp to see.
On the way home I went to a grocery store and bought some ground beef and at home cooked a spaghetti dinner.
After a nap I went to the swimming pool.

Actually I wanted to be in Myrtle Beach today, but after talking to people and finding out that they are having Bike Week in Myrtle Beach, I decided to stay another day in Charleston. I had seen many people on motorbikes when I was on I-20, they all were going east. It would be impossible to get a camp site, with the bikers and weekend tourists in town.
So I went back to Magnolia Plantation and walked in the gardens. The rest of the day I took it easy. In the evening I wanted to drive to the office and check my E mail; I got in the car and the key would not go into the ignition switch. I used some oil and then used a pair of pliers to force the key in. Nothing worked.
I walked to the office and nobody was there. Later on I found out that the telephones are down and the office help went home.
Just before going to bed I tried again to start the car and the key worked. I left the key in the ignition and locked the car.

By 6:00 AM I was on the road and arrived at 8:00 AM at Huntington Beach State Park, South of Myrtle Beach. One family had left the park already and I took their site. The ranger gave me the name and telephone number of a car repair place. Tomorrow morning I will get in motion to get the car fixed. I still have the key in the ignition. I do not dare to take it out. A towel over the steering wheel hides the key.
My neighbors are from Asheville, North Carolina and are very nice. They are two couples, one couple sleeps in a tent and the other couple has a little A frame trailer. All are retired and came down from the mountains to enjoy the beach.

By 9:00 AM I was in the water; the water temperature is 76 degrees F. After swimming I walked over to"Atalaya" the castle the Huntingtons build. It was their winter residence and built in a Spanish- Moorish style. The property they gave the state has three miles of beach and 2,500 acres.
The beach is wide and all fine sand, no stones or rocks.
The last three days I learned a lot about the slaves in South Carolina. The coastal region was a rice producing area. Rice was a cash crop before cotton and tobacco. The slaves in this area came from West Africa and knew about cultivating rice.
They drained the marshes in the coastal area and flooded the fields twice before harvesting. It was a labor intensive process.
The rice was transported down the rivers on flat boats and loaded on big ships in Charleston and shipped to Europe.
I went to bed very late because I had started to read the book "Tis, a memoir" by Frank McCourt. He also wrote Angela's Ashes. Tis is very funny and sad. He left Ireland when he was 18, the same age when I left Germany. The Army sent him to Germany, the same happened to me. He went to night school to improve himself, so did I.

I went to the auto repair place and they wrote it up. They told me that they would order an ignition switch and it would be at their place by 2:00 PM tomorrow. I took off and 30 minutes later I get a call and the service manager asked me where my car is. I had to go there again and they took a look at the ignition and told me to see them after 2:00 PM tomorrow.
On the way home I went to Brookgreen Gardens, a former plantation. The Huntington’s bought it and converted it to a sculpture garden. Mrs. Huntington was an artist and has some of her own sculptures on display.

The property is about a thousand acres and has forests, marshes, lakes, and large gardens. The flowering bushes and flowers are beautiful.
In the afternoon the beach was calling me. The water is warm and is it fun to stay in the water. The rest of the afternoon I was reading and laughing. The book is hard to put down.

Today I checked out the "Grand Strand" that what this area is called. 60 miles of beach and about 30 miles of restaurants, mini golf, water parks, theaters, and other forms of entertainment.
All along U.S. highway 17 one can spend money left and right. There are some good fish restaurants, but I do not like to go to a restaurant by myself.
In Surfside Beach I went to the library and checked my E mail. At 1:00 PM I was at the auto repair place. I had brought my book and the people in the waiting room probably thought I was crazy. I could not stop laughing.
When I looked in the parking lot I got nervous. My car was gone and I had not given the mechanic the key. The key was in the ignition but the doors were locked. They had the car in the repair bay and were working on it. It did not take long and I was heading back to the beach. When they ordered the new ignition switch they had given the warehouse the number on the dash board and the new switch was keyed like the old switch. In the package was also a key. This is how the mechanic was able to open the car door. Now I do not have to worry anymore about getting the key stuck.
Before I went to the beach I went one more time to Brookgreen Gardens. This time I did not ride the trolley, I took a long walk and got close to the sculptures. The sculptures are spread out over a 50 acre area.

I left the Huntington Beach campground at 6:00 AM; stopped at the information office and called my sister in Germany. Today is her birthday.
Heading North on highway 17 I past all the tourist attractions. I stayed on 17 up to Washington, North Carolina, and then took 264 east until I got to the North Carolina Outer Banks. I took a campsite at the National Seashore campground near Oregon Inlet, Cape Hatteras Island is across the bridge. My neighbors are an older couple from Fallbrook, California, only a few miles away from Carlsbad.
When I got there it was 4:00 PM and I felt like cooking dinner. After dinner I took a walk along the beach. A jeep was stuck in the sand and the young guys were racing the engine and got deeper and deeper in the sand. A Ford pick up truck came by and pulled them out. After a few feet the jeep got stuck again and the pick up truck pulled it a half mile to the street.
It must have been very embarrassing for the driver. After they were gone another jeep came around the corner and got stuck in the same place. I did not hang around to see how that ended. I saw a lot of sand flying through the air.
Dark clouds came from the North and at 7:30 PM it started to rain and thunder and lightning made everybody run for cover. I feel sorry for people in their little tents.

When I woke up the rain was gone and blue sky greeted me. I went to Kitty Hawk to the Wright Brothers National Monument.
At the visitor center they had a presentation, a gentlemen told us about the Wright family and about Wilbur and Orville.
A copy of the Wright Flyer was behind him and we found out about the obstacles the Wrights had to overcome. They chose the Outer Bank because of the wind and the sand dunes for soft landings.
After the presentation I walked to the little air strip where the first 120 foot flight was achieved. There are markers for the 120, 175, 200, and 825 foot flights.
The monument is on top of Kill Devil Hill from where the brothers flew their gliders.

The museum has a lot of displays from the bicycle shop, parts they made and the eight horse power engine they built. It also has displays from other people who were working on flying machines.
From Kitty Hawk I went to Roanoke Island, to the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site. This is the site of the"Lost Colony" All 109 colonists had disappeared and up to this date nobody knows what happened to them. That was in 1585, many years before the Pilgrims landed in Plymouth.
In the afternoon I drove down to Hatteras Island and went to the lighthouse. Beautiful vacation homes, some in the style of Victorian homes, are sitting ten feet above the ground. Cars and boats are parked underneath.

I left the Outer Banks at 6:00 AM and arrived in Williamsburg, Virginia at 9:00 AM. At 10:00 AM I participated in a guided walk through part of Colonial Williamsburg. This is the largest Outdoor Museum in the world. It encompasses several city blocks. It is 1/2 mile wide and one mile long.

The theme of the museum is "1774". The guides are in costumes like people wore before the revolution. The guides also talk like they live in 1774. They do not know about airplanes and all the modern machines we have today. 88 of the homes are original homes from the 18th century.
There are no cars on the streets, only horse drawn carriages. One has to be careful when crossing the street and watch where one steps.
There are people doing their trade. The printer prints the newspaper, and the shoemaker makes shoes. I was surprised in the shoemaker shop; the shoes were actually good looking shoes. They are made for the employees. All the trades are represented.
Colonial Williamsburg is big but it is done very tasteful and gives one a good idea how people lived about 225 years ago. I walked several miles today. Colonial Williamsburg is worth a trip.

Now I am in the Virginia Hill Country. I arrived at Louisa, Virginia at 9:00 AM. Louisa is located 20 miles Northeast of Charlotteville.
At 10:00 AM I toured Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's house on the "Little Mountain".
Jefferson had built a house on this spot but after living for five years in France he changed it completely. He incorporated many things he had seen in Europe. Food was brought up from the preparation area by dumb waiter. He developed many labor saving gadgets.

Jefferson designed everything at Monticello, even the large clock at the entry hall. The clock is mounted on the wall near the ceiling. The weights are in the basement, wires run over pulleys through the
The view from the house is spectacular. The Virginia country side is beautiful.
After Monticello I went down the road to Ash Lawn Highland, home of James Monroe, the fifth president of the United States. Ash Lawn Highland is a simple home compared to Monticello.
It is very warm in Virginia and the swimming pool at the RV Park was my next s top.

This morning I spent at Montpelier, the plantation of James Madison, the fourth president of the United States. From the mansion one has a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, what a sight.
The museum has a lot of artifacts of Dolley and James Madison, many of Madison's years of public service.
I knew a lot about Jefferson, since I took a course in college about him, but I knew only the basics about Madison. Today I filled that gap.
Madison called himself a farmer, a farmer who spoke Latin and Greek. Who was the United States minister to England, France and Spain. Madison won his second term as president unopposed.

Today I went to Staunton, Virginia, to the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace and Presidential Library.
Staunton is a typical 1850's town, located in the Shenandoah Valley.
I arrived before the Presidential Library opened up, so I went along the main street and enjoyed the old houses and stores. The Union Army did not destroy the town, which is a great benefit for Staunton, tourists like to come here. The town is surrounded by the Shenandoah and Blue Ridge Mountains. On Interstate 64 are View areas, from there one can see down in the beautiful valley.
The stores were not open yet and no fast food restaurant in sight, so I walked into city hall looking for a rest room. I found one and then I looked at the city scrap book on the walls in the
main hall. The history of Staunton was there in old pictures and articles. It was very interesting.
The Public Library was open already and I walked there to check my E mail. My checking account statement was available, I printed it and later I have to reconcile my account.
When I got to the Presidential Library a small group of people had arrived and one of the docents gave us a tour. I always thought Wilson was a good president and if his 14 points would have been adopted, world war two would have never happened. Hitler would have never had a chance becoming chancellor.

This was a driving and working day. I left Louisa, Virginia at 5:30 AM and arrived at Asheboro, North Carolina at 11:00 AM. Asheboro is about 35 miles South of Greensboro. I had stopped at a Walmart Superstore and filled up the freezer with food.
After setting up the motorhome I called David Wydysh; he lives and works not very far from here.
Then I decided to do laundry; I filled up three machines. There are two swimming pools here and I enjoyed one of them.

At 11:45 AM I met Dave Wydysh at the Daimler-Chrysler plant. The German flag was flying high with the U.S. and North Carolina flag in front of the building. They build commercial busses there. The chassis come either from Germany or from Ford or Chrysler, depending what the customer wants. The rest is built at the plant or comes from sub contractors. Dave gave me a complete tour of the plant.
We agreed that I meet him again in the evening at his home. I wanted to send my E mail from there.
When I arrived at the motorhome the owner of the RV Park came over and stopped his big tractor next to me. He was cutting grass.
He told me to take a look at the back of the car pass. The car pass hangs on the rear view mirror when one enters the park. On the back of the red pass they had stapled a note, which read: We are SERIOUS about rules...... Stop sign means STOP.
Now I got a lecture. I told him I did not see the sign. That made everything worse. He told me that he had the sheriff come through and check it out and the sign is visible. Finally I told him that I would never do it again. "You darn sure you will never do it again" he said and took off.
When I went to the swimming pool I went around the corner and looked for the sign. There were two stop signs, one on each side of the road. They were regular stop signs. Now I really felt stupid, especially since I told him that I did not see the sign.
I thought about it for a few minutes and then I figured out why I did not stop. The one sign was mounted on a board and on the board it said: "and register before entering camping area". They used the word "stop" of the sign as part of the message. When I arrived there the first time I stopped and registered and from then on I ignored the sign. Big mistake, I broke the rule and I lied. With all the churches around here that is not acceptable. On one corner I saw two Baptist churches, side by side, one was Southern Baptist and I do not know what the other was.
At 6:30 PM I met David at his house and sent my E mail, but I sent only the Convair list and forgot my regular friends list. We were talking and I forgot.
Linda and David invited me for dinner. While David was doing his thing on the grill we were able to talk about our time at Convair. Just before he was finished it started to rain and we had to move inside.
I left at 8:45 PM and arrived at the RV Park at 10:00 PM. I was lucky, even with the rain I did not get lost. In the open areas, without street lights, I was in doubt sometimes.
When I got to the park, everything was dark, but I stopped at the stop sign, I have a feeling there is a infrared camera to record people who break the rule. I would not want the owner to come out in his pajamas and give me a hard time.
I think I am not the only one who did not stop. Why did they put a note on the back of the car pass? That was an after thought.

I arrived at the RV Park in Old Fort at 9:00 AM. I expected a problem because of the long weekend. Old Fort is 24 miles east of Asheville, and this part of the Blue Ridge Mountains is very popular.
The first question I was asked: "Do you have a reservation"? The answer was no.
The gentleman checked in the office and one person had just canceled because their house had burned down. So I took the whole weekend.
Today I get a site for half price and because of the holiday a have to pay full price for the remaining days. I do not care, I have a place to stay.
At 11:00 AM I was at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville. George Vanderbilt had Americas largest home built here. The Chateau has 250 rooms.
I was here more than 30 years ago and I wanted to see it one more time. Vanderbilt, like Hearst collected European art and many beautiful pictures, carpets and other items are on display. The place is out of this world. The gardens are beautiful too. 15 gardeners are busy taking care of 2000 rose bushes and other plants. The family still owns the house and 8,000 acres around it, but got rid of most of the 125000 acres they owned. That land is now part of the Pisgah National Forest.

The RV Park manager had given me a typed note, a short cut to Mt. Mitchell, the highest mountain east of the Mississippi. Mt. Mitchell is 6,700 feet high.
I should never take a short cut from people who drive pick up trucks. But the note sounded inviting. Curtiss Creek Road turned into a dirt road. It was OK until a sign said: End of State responsibility. The rest of the road was National Forest. Once in a while I saw people camp in forest clearings. They camped in tents.
After a while I was alone and was not sure whether I was lost. A pick up truck came towards me and I stopped him and found out I had eight more miles to go. At ten miles an hour it took me some time.
When I arrived at the Blue Ridge Parkway I was happy. The rhododendron bushes are in bloom now and the purple color makes a wonderful contrast to the yellow daisies on the side of the road. There are also bushes with white blooms.

The Parkway is 469 miles long and connects the Shenandoah and the Great Smokey Mountain National Parks. No commercial vehicles are allowed. The road goes along the crests of the southern Appalachians.
There is cross traffic about every fifty miles. One has to start with a full tank, there are no gas stations, no bill boards, no homes, only trees, bushes, flowers, grass and nature. The view from the lookouts is unbelievable beautiful.
I arrived at Mt. Mitchell and was glad I brought a sweat shirt, it was windy and cool on top.

Then I drove to Little Switzerland. It is a little town with hotels and tourist stores. The houses are build like in Switzerland, with balconies facing the mountains.
On the way back to the motorhome I saw a library and the librarian gave me a temporary 30 minute library card. I got my E mail and got some good news and some bad. Some of my friends send me notes which are always welcome. One note informed me that Tom Woodin has died; he was my chief at Convair for several years. They statement from my credit card was also available, it is a whopper.

This RV Park is in a Hollow (pronounced: holler). A hollow is surrounded by mountains on three sides; there is no outlet.
Most hollows have either a creek or a river flowing through. There is a fast flowing creek behind my motorhome; I can hear the water. In a hollow is very little even land. I had to raise the back of the motorhome quit a bit and when I get out of the motorhome I have to be careful because the step is very high. The motorhome is covered by branches of the trees, this makes it dark inside but also keeps it cooler.

Today I went one more time on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I drove to Linville Falls and got there on the Parkway.
I took the Parkway to the Grandfather Mountain. To get to the top of the mountain one has to take a private road, which costs $12.00 per person. On the top I climbed to the rock formation one sees on all the travel guides. From there one has a 360 degrees view of the whole region. I heard a lot of ughs and ahs. A young man told me: "That is spectacular". I had to agree with him.

He told me that he lives in North Carolina and works for a company which builds busses. I told him that I had a plant tour on Wednesday. He could not believe it but I told him specifics and he walked off and I heard him telling his wife something about a small world.
From the top of the mountain I went to the museum. There were displays of all the wildlife of the area and models of how the mountain was created.
They also have a wildlife area, where otters, cougars, eagles, bears and other animals are displayed. The bears were the hit of the day. A mother bear and her three cubs were in one area. The three cubs were in a tall tree and their antics made many people happy. Sometimes it looked like they would fall, but they held on.

On the way home I stopped at the Food Lion, which meant another card. Now I have eight cards for different stores in different areas. There are no Vons or Safeway out here.
It started to rain at 7:00 PM, so far I was lucky about the weather. It has not stopped me from doing things.

It started to rain at 7:00 AM. I thought it would last all day and did things around the motorhome. I transferred the pictures from the camera to the computer and then renamed the pictures and organized them. Some needed a little enhancement.
Yesterday I had bought ground beef for spaghetti sauce. I made the sauce and cooked some spaghetti. When done, I ate some of it. By then the sun had come out and at 1:00 PM I went to Chimney Rock. Chimney Rock is located in the Hickory Nut Gorge. On either side of the village the rocky cliffs rise steeply, dwarfing the little village. The Rocky Broad River flows through the gorge and into Lake Lure.
Chimney Rock Village has all kinds of small shops, catering to the women of the world.
I climbed Chimney Rock and the view from up there was breath taking. The gorge is 14 miles long and below are the villages of Bat Cave and Chimney Rock.

At 1:00 AM I woke up. A thunderstorm came through and it was raining very hard. People, who had camped in tents, on the other side of the creek, left early. One couple left their tent. I felt sorry for them, most of them had the grills set up for Memorial Day food.
It had not rained for four weeks, and the rain was needed, but it should have waited one more day.
I checked the motorhome for leaks and luckily did not find any. I think I have it fixed. I took it easy today.

I left Old Fort at 6:30 AM and arrived in Cherokee,North Carolina, at 8:30 AM. At 10:00AM I was at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The ranger suggested that I should drive to Clingmans Dome, since we had a blue sky and good visibility.
I asked him what those winding plants were, which cover trees, telephone poles, some houses and anything those plants can climb up on.
He told me they are Kudzu plants, imported from Japan to stop erosion. Of course they went out of control and are suffocating trees. I drove up to Clingmans Dome and the half mile walk to the observation tower almost killed me. There were plenty of benches on the way to take a rest.

People were panting and breathing heavy. Three English couples, one man in a wheel chair and five people pushing, were going up too. I had enough, just walking. The view was worth it. There is a blue, thin mist over the green mountains. On the way back I stopped on different outlooks and really enjoyed this beautiful park.

I drove again into the Great Smokey Mountain Park. My first stop was the Mingus Mill.
This mill uses a turbine instead of a large water wheel. The water is diverted from the river into a wooden channel and then flows in the turbine. The turbine drives the shaft for the mill stones and wheat cleaner and other devices.
Two old man run the mill for the park service. The flower is sold to visitors.
My next stop was the Mountain Farm Museum. This is a wonderful museum. The buildings were collected from throughout the mountains and are a complete farm with meat house, apple house, barn and house. Even apple trees from the 1800's are there.

I remember in 1968, Claudia, Hanna and I found a swimming hole and went swimming. While we were in the water a water moccasin swam past us. When we saw the snake we froze. There are different kind of snakes in the Smokies.

I left Cherokee at 6:00 AM and arrived at Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area at 4:00 PM.
This recreation area is on the Kentucky- Tennessee border, Northwest of Nashville, Tennessee.
In 1971 we spent a week in this beautiful area. We did not only have a good time; we also met friends for life. We met Bob and Freke there. I saw Bob occasionally, during breaks from classes, at the Chicago Tool and Die Institute. He was one year ahead of me but Bruce, a classmate of mine, worked with Bob and we talked occasionally.
Meeting him and his family at Land Between the Lakes and having a common hobby brought us together. From then on we went in the fall together to Wisconsin to buy or pick apples and to go hiking at Devils Lake. During the year we had picnics together.
Now we live on opposite parts of the country. Bob and Freke live and Florida and we live in California.
I have a beautiful camp site on Kentucky Lake. On the eastern shore is Lake Barkley.

In the early morning I went for a ride. The American Bison (Buffalo) herd was near the road and I stopped to take a look. The babies are cute and the adults still have pieces of winter fur hanging loosely on their body.
My next stop was at the Kentucky Dam. I decided to have an early lunch. While I was sitting on a bench, eating my sandwich and apple, anglers were pulling out ugly, big fish. The fish had a flat, long bill like some birds have.
Nobody caught a cat fish. There are 150 pound cat fish below the dam. At the dam visitor center I studied the mechanics of the turbines. I had a question about the 79revolutions the turbines turn per minute.
An engineer tried to explain to me that the turbines turn that many times per minute while part of the grid. I told him that the water input should have an influence. He replied that this is correct when the turbine is running on its own and not part of the grid.
I had to give up because I could not get it. I will have the same question when I get to a windmill farm.
At the Golden Pond Visitor Center I watched a movie about the creation of Land Between The Lakes. Before the dam the area was called Land Between The Rivers. 2600 families were moved. Their houses and farms are now under the water.
In the afternoon I went to the beach and enjoyed the warm water. Land Between The Lakes has 300 miles of shoreline and an area of 170,000 acres.
Piney Campground has 383 sites. There are three more campgrounds on LBL. The sites are large and separated by bushes and trees.

I took it easy today. In the morning I went for a while to The Homeplace, A Living 1850 History Farm.
There they have all the farm buildings, the orchard, the garden, the fields, the animals and the people.

Back at the motorhome I talked to my neighbors and watched the boats going along Kentucky Lake.

In the evening I took a walk in the campground and noticed one campsite with a plastic tube with red, white, and blue sections laying on the ground around the camper. There were lights in the tube and the different color sections about a foot long. It looked interesting. I talked to the man sitting near the fire and he invited me to sit down with him. He and his wife live 30 miles from LBL and leave their trailer at LBL for nine months and come on weekends and holidays. They participated in a lottery to be able to stay that long. The Park Service makes 65 camp sites available for long term use and picks the people out of a hat. It costs $1,900.00 for the nine months.
A few minutes later a brother of the man and his wife joined the group. Three more brothers and wives showed up.
They all are camping in the same campground. One more brother and wife had to stay home and take care of the horses and other animals. They were a friendly bunch. They all have boats and some are anglers.

It took me a long time to get out of Land Between The Lakes. I had stayed at the Southern end, and it is 35 miles of a small winding road to the North end. Besides, wild turkeys crossed the road and deer were grazing on the side on the road. Some stopped grazing and where deciding whether the should jump in front of the motorhome.

This was a driving day. I arrived at Hermann, Missouri at 2:00 PM and setup the motorhome and then went to the swimming pool.
I know Hermann, the friendly German City, from 1996, when I spent two months in San Louis. They have vineyards here and make wine. Hermann is located 70 miles west of San Louis.
They are proud of their German heritage and advertise it on I-70 on large billboards.
I tried all evening to call Darlene and Larry Boswell; they were not at home. I would like to visit them tomorrow.

Had a great day. I went swimming in the morning. I was the first one at the pool. Mothers with their little monsters came while I was doing my laps. The diving section is 12 foot deep and I saw a lot of belly flops. Two lifeguards made sure nobody stayed on the bottom of the swimming pool.
Then I went to Swiss, a five house town, 12 miles south of Hermann. There I saw a big butcher shop, where they advertised Bratwurst. They lady had five different types for tasting. I liked the first sample and bought a package.
In the early afternoon I saw Darlene and Larry. They have a beautiful, new, big home with three garages and a big basement. There is a lot of room to collect stuff. The closets are a women's dream. They live now about ten miles west of Saint Louis. I got my E mail at their house. It is always nice to meet old friends.
When I got back to the motorhome I talked with my neighbors. They are from Phoenix, Arizona and did almost the same trip as I did. Only they had bad luck with the weather and had a lot of rain.

I arrived at Branson at 10:30 AM and went to buy tickets for the Preslys Country Jubilee show. We saw that show in 1976 when they were one of three shows. Branson has grown since.
Then I went to Father Time, the clock shop, to see Jim Faulkner. He was at its best again. A couple came in and he asked the lady whether the man was her husband. When she said yes he told her:" Tell the cheapskate to buy you a clock". Of course everybody was laughing. A couple came in with a five year old boy and he asked the lady whether she wanted to trade in the boy. People might not buy anything but three days out of the week they leave the shop laughing.
At this time of my life I need some happy moments and Jim can provide them.
When I was sitting at Jim's desk, across from him, a lady came in the shop and sat next to me. I did not look at her since I was talking. When I was finished Jim told her that I had been working at Convair.
I turned around and we shook hands. I saw right away that she knew me, I could tell on her facial expression. Of course remembering the name is almost impossible in a situation like this.
She said:" You are the engineer". I said yes and told her my name. Her name is Vallie Hoiriis, you Convair people know her as Vallie Scott. She still has that beautiful face, which we saw mostly in tears. She was crying a lot. After Convair closed the doors, they moved here and finally got a divorce. She is very pregnant and will have the baby in two weeks.
Vallie works in the same mall as Jim. They did not know each other at Convair but Jim asks everybody where they hail from and he found out.
When I left the mall I tried to find the Yakov Smirnoff theater and buy tickets, but in the traffic I missed it and went back to the motorhome and jumped in the swimming pool.
The show started at 8:00 PM. I had one of the best seats, second row in the center. It happens every time.
There is always one spot for a single, lonely person. The show was good and the audience got their money's worth.

When I woke up it was raining. By 9:00 AM the rain was gone. I drove to the clock shop and there was no Jim. Nobody was in the store, only customers walking around. I went to the store next door and asked for Vallie.
I was told that Jim drove her to the hospital but I think she was there already and Jim drove her mother.
When Jim came back I told him I could have cleaned out the store. "First things first" he said.
I went to the Yakov Smirnoff theater and bought tickets for the 3:00 PM show. The show was good and all 2200 seats were filled. There were a lot of big busses.

Went today to the Roy Roger and Dale Evans Museum. I could have done it cheaper if I would have done that while they were still in Victorville, California. In Branson they get more customers.
I got lost on the way to the museum. When I saw the 65 South signs I knew something was wrong. My sense of direction is very bad. Because of that I found a beautiful overlook. The whole Branson Valley was below me, with Table Rock Lake and the river.
The afternoon I spent at the pool, computer room and just loafed. Eckard Liensdorf sent me an E mail and told me that Joe Engelhardt and wife were yesterday in Branson and Jim Faulkner told them about me. Too bad we could not get together. I can not contact Jim because he started Thursday on a camping
trip. Jim sees a lot of ex Convair people, in September a whole bus load.

This day started with a beautiful morning. I checked my E mail and then went to Silver Dollar City.
This place has grown since 1976. There are more rides now. But the craft shops are still there.
In Charlston, South Carolina the black women made baskets with sweet grass; in the Ozarks they make them with white oak strips. First they make a 3/4 inch thick board and from the board they make thin, 3/4 inch wide strips. Those they use to make the baskets.
One old, bearded man was building a log house. I talked to him while he notched the ends of the logs with an ax, without using a template. They also have shows. When I was near a place where they had a show I would attend, otherwise I just moved along.
Having fun is hard work. This is a large park and it takes a lot of foot work. I did not stay for the 7:00 PM big show with fire works. I needed to jump in the swimming pool.

Today I went to Eureka Springs, Arkansas. In the 1800's people came there to take the water.
Now tourists walk the hills where the beautiful Victorian homes have been changed into stores.
The area has lush, green forests. This is not only a Mecca for women to shop, it is also for outdoors people.

The lakes nearby invite the anglers and the forests have enough game for the hunters.
Boats are in almost every backyard.
After I had enough of the town I drove to the Magnetic Mountain, where "The Great Passion Play' is performed. The staging area represents Jerusalem , at the time of Christ.
There is also "The Christ of the Ozarks" a seven stories high statue of Christ. The outspread arms measure 65 feet across and from a distance the statue gives the appearance of a cross.

Nearby is a section of the Berlin wall and the history of the wall.

Lightning and thunder appeared after I had decided to return to Branson. The noise sped up the process.
On the way I encountered heavy rain but as soon as I came near the RV Park the rain stopped.

After swimming I took a drive to the dam and walked along the lake.

The weekend tourists are in town, so I stayed away from the town and instead I went to the Walmart Superstore and bought groceries. When I came back I did my laundry and some house cleaning. In the afternoon I went to the Table Rock Dam Visitor Center and saw a movie about the construction of the dam and all the recreational possibilities in the area. Then I watched divers teach their children diving.
The divers had a second air hose with valve attached to their system. The children used that second hose.

Looked for a barber today, found one, but was not open. So I went to the clock shop and bothered Jim Faulkner for an hour. Vallie does not have the baby yet; she has to stay in bed though.
The rest of the day I took it easy. There are many more shows to see, but I do not feel like seeing any.
I have the swimming pool for myself.

I got my hair cut, that took a lot of weight off. Then I went to the clock shop to say goodbye to Jim. He was working next door, filling in for Vallie. Both stores are owned by the same person. When I came in the store he was in the process of selling a $3,000.00 leather chair to a lady. The chair had motors, and
vibrators, but I did not see a propeller. For that much money the thing should fly.
My next stop was Shepherd of the Hills. Since it looked like rain I did not buy a ticket for the show. The show is in the evening and outdoors. I did not go on the observation tower either, since the view would have not been good. I save that for my next Branson visit.
On the way home I passed the Ray Stevens theater. I stopped and asked for a ticket in the front rows for the 3:00 PM show.
I was told there were none available. When I said I want only one ticket I got a ticket in the middle of the first row. That is a bit scary because I would hate to be picked to help somebody on the stage.
Since it was past 1:00 PM it did not pay to do something else. I decided to walk across the street and have lunch at the IHOP.
The show was good and funny. There was no audience participation required.

Today was my last day at Branson. I made it a total rest day. Reading and laying out the route to three towns near Hutchinson, Kansas, were the only activities. Most of the driving will be on small roads.
The weather was nice when I woke up but changed fast. It rained all day. I have no reservations for the Good Sam Jamboree in Hutchinson. They stopped taking reservations after May 1st.
At that time I did not know where I would be. From now on it will be spotty sending E mail, to get E mail I have to go to public libraries.

It did not rain all day yesterday; the rain stopped a few times. During the dry moments I emptied the holding tanks and stored the sewer hose and the fresh water hose.
I also hooked up the car to the motorhome. The television cable I disconnected just before I went to bed.
My neighbors noticed that I was getting ready for an early takeoff. They are five elderly couples who work in the RV park from March to September. When the park closes they go to Arizona and work there. In Brandon they get free tickets for all the shows. All they have to do is show their pay check stub.
I arrived at Newton, Kansas at 2:00 PM and wasted an hour looking for the Elks Lodge. The address given in the lodge book is now a Mexican restaurant. When I finally found the new lodge I saw no electrical outlets. They are still working on the camping area. My second choice was the Spring Lake RV Park, 18 miles east of Hutchinson.
When I got there a man was standing near the highway and asking for the reservation number.
I knew I was in trouble. I told him that I wanted to go to the office anyway and talk to the people there.
A lot of campers had the same idea, in that heat they did not want to dry camp at the fair grounds.One of the office ladies gave me a little sketch to the Harvey County West Park. I found the park and it is beautiful here.
There is a lake and river where people swim and fish. They have electricity and before I parked the motorhome I went to the hydrant and filled up the fresh water tank.
I picked a site under large trees; it is dark in the motorhome, but it will be easier for the air conditioner.

I woke up at 1:00 AM because of rain, thunder and lightning. A big thunder storm came through. I fell asleep again and when I woke up in the morning the sky was dark.
At 9:00 AM I left for Hutchinson. When I saw the sign for the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center I decided to visit it. This space center is affiliated with the Smithsonian and has the largest collection of Soviet space hardware in the Western World, besides hardware from NASA and German V-1 and V-2 rockets and displays.
My next stop was the Kansas State Fairgrounds. Hundreds of Motorhomes were lined up already. Security at the gate could not tell me where I could get a three day entrance pass. I called the Good Sam Club and they told me they would open the office tomorrow. The Jamboree starts Monday.
I would like to attend some of the seminars and check out what can be done with the steering on the motorhome.
Entertainment will be provided by the Gatlin Brothers, The Temptations, Bobby Bare and Ronnie McDowell.
I did not need the air conditioner in the motorhome today. The temperature was 72 degrees F.

It rained in the night and all morning. I drove again to the Fairgrounds and this time saw the signs to "Will Call"
When I entered the office trailer I asked why I saw so many motorhomes heading south on route 61.
They all had the green and orange cards on the dash board, indicating the parking lot number and site number. But they were going the wrong way. I was told that they had sent them to the airport because the grass parking places at the fairgrounds are wet.
I asked for a three day pass and I was told that they would not give out any passes until a decision is made about the weather.
On the way back to the motorhome I took a detour and went to Yoder, a small Amish village. I like to see the buggies on the road. Those horses move very fast. The boys and men wear straw hats and the girls and women bonnets.
In the stores I looked for a good rye bread, but they only had white, rubber bread.
Another item I have not enjoyed yet is White Castle hamburgers. I saw two places in Missouri, but could not get to one with the motorhome and the other time I had just eaten.
When I arrived at the park a motorhome with California license plates had just pulled in. I talked to the people and found out that they had reservations for Spring Lake RV Park, the park I had visited on Thursday and could not get a site because I had no reservation. If I had a reservation I would be sitting there and could not get out.
The people I talked to could not get in. The park is flooded. All the people who got there today were sent to were I am staying now. But most of them decided to go to the school parking lot in Halstead.
Sometimes bad luck turns into good luck. I told the people about the problem getting passes for the rally, and gave them the telephone number to call. I think I will head west tomorrow morning.
Bob and Ann Ferenc invited me for dinner tonight. They live in Andover, a suburb of Wichita.
I will send this report from their house because I do not know when I get another chance.

Last night I had a good time at Bob's and Ann's house. I teased Bob when I got there. I told him that I thought I was at the wrong house. They have a beautiful big house. It has a full, finished basement. I left about 8:00 PM to get back to the County Park before total darkness.
The weather had changed during the day, from dark clouds to blue sky. There were no blue skies this morning, only rain, thunder and lightning.
I had planned to wait until 8:00 AM and then call Good Sam and ask whether they sell passes for the rally.
At the news the said there would be 6,000 motorhomes and trailers at the rally. I have a hard time believing that. When I get back to San Diego I will check it out.
When I heard the thunder I got up, had a bowl of cereal and started to shave when it started to rain.
I stopped everything and got out of the motorhome and hooked up the car.
Unfortunately I had a "back in site", otherwise I would have done that last night. When I was finished I was soaked. I changed my clothing and headed west on US 50.
It was 6;30 AM and it was dark and raining until I came to the Oklahoma state line.
Darlene and Larry Boswell had sent me an E mail, telling me their location. When I came by E Lot Parking it was to early and raining heavy. I had planned to meet them there.
I set camp at the Elks Lodge in Dalhart, Texas, on US 54. The lodge is outside of town and there is no public phone and my cell phone has a weak signal. I have to make the calls tomorrow.

I left Dalhard at 4:30 AM. Last night I went to the lodge and watched 60 Minutes on the big screen TV.
There were ten people on the bar, and nobody watched television, so I had the TV all by myself.
They broadcast it here at 6:00 PM. When I got back to the motorhome I read a few more pages of War and Remembrance, took a shower and by 9:00 PM I was in dreamland.
So I got an early start today. I arrived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at 10:30 AM and after checking my E mail, I went to Old Town to my favorite restaurant. This time the sopaipillas machine was working and the two the waiter brought me were really puffed up. Last year the waiters had to make them by hand and they were flat.
The rest of the day was swimming pool time and one more time checking for E mail. Albuquerque has blue sky with little white clouds. Kansas needed the rain and got it all at once. They should have sent some to New Mexico.

I arrived at Sedona, Arizona at 1:30 PM. First I took a short trip to the Visitor Center to get some information, and then I checked my E mail at the library. There I found out that I gained two hours, of course will loose one again in California. Arizona does not have daylight saving time.
The Elks Lodge is above Sedona. One half of the red sun is still visible on top of the mountains. The town below is getting slowly dark. This is a million dollar view and costs me only $10.00.

I am the only camper here. The lodge is busy, something is going on. I have to use up the food in the freezer in a hurry.
Yesterday in Albuquerque when I changed the refrigerator from propane to electricity, I missed electricity and put the dial on off. Normally that would not been a problem, but I defrosted the refrigerator and the food was not that cold. When I put the food back in the freezer it got even warmer.
When the temperature gage still stood at 52 degrees F, I started to look at the dial and found the problem.
Luckily I was waiting to get to San Diego to fill up the freezer, and therefore not much food was left.
I talked to Darlene yesterday afternoon and they are at the rally. They were put on the parking lot at the airport, some people were put on K Mart and other stores parking lots. Next year the rally will be held in Oregon, perhaps I will attend it there.
I started today to put all the trip reports in one and change the files to Microsoft Word. In the process I found mistakes. Tomorrow is only a driving day, to the end of the line.

I left Sedona at 4:30 AM to get over the mountains before the sun came out. When I arrived in Phoenix at 6:00 AM the temperature was already at 78 degrees F. Ten hot air balloons flew very low over I-17. They all had the same desert design.
I arrived safely at Oceanside. Besides not had the chance to eat some White Castle hamburgers, and not being able to attend the Great North American RV Ralley, the trip went rather well.
Gasoline costs $2.25-$2.36 in California, for regular.
I hope all of you have a great summer. After seeing a dentist and getting
a physical I will head to Eureka and visit Claudia and family.

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