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Thursday, September 15, 2022

Back in Alabama - Maintenance & Upgrades!

Summer is gone! The temperatures aren't, but "summer" is gone!!  LOL! I'm back in Alabama for several weeks.


Left WVa a couple of weeks early so that I would be in Huntsville, AL in time for my granddaughter's first gymnastics competition! And SOOOOOO Proud of her! She took first in 3 of the areas and she took Overall for the competition in her level! Outstanding job, Julia!!

 Another reason for the early departure from 13th grandchild is due...any day now!! So I had to down here for that also! So my winter maintenance run is ongoing. 


Had two dear friends stop by for two nights on their way to D.C. for a visit. We had not seen each other in the flesh for 3+ years! It was great to be able to sit and visit! And they brought cool air with them!!!  LOL! It has been in the low 50's for the past few nights! Just fabulous!! 


Have a whole list of things that I want to get done to Lily over the next few weeks.....battery, inverter, new solar panel, reconfigure storage in Lily, new fuel pump, paint Lily's roof, plugs, air filter, hmmmm....that might be enough for now!!!  LOL!

Guntersville State Park
Stopped by Guntersville SP Lake. Still a nice place for a day trip!

Really nice views of the Lake.

Had a nice drive back to Alabama, quite a bit faster than I will, or usually do, travel this time. But had a good reason to do more than usual! Still,
some really pretty land driven through. Saw a few spots that I will get back to next year as I go back to WVa for the summer months - up on Cheat Mountain in the Monongahela Nat'l Forest.

Stopped by the Guntersville Dam....first time I've actually been by there!

 I will be traveling without the trailer this time. I've been carrying so much stuff that I have not touched for the past 18 months that it is time to do another purge!! Living "tiny" is also having to have a "minimalist" attitude, and after 6 decades of "living large", it is a real process to "get tiny". But slowly getting there! 

I hope you will come back and visit me here as I start my "winter run West" in a few weeks! I have several stops planned...Padre Island (as usual!), the 9 Painted Churches of Central Texas, McDonald Observatory, The Mojave Desert, Death Valley, The General Sherman Tree, The Great Basin....and probably more spots as I travel the forgotten roads!

I hope to see some of you out there! So as I like to say....

Be Safe, Travel Easy & Go To The Woods!!!


Frog & Abbie

🐸       🐶

And the rains have kept following me!!!






Sunday, July 17, 2022

Summer Half Over - So a short Wander!!

My summer in WVa is about half over already! My how time flies when you are relaxed and chilled!! With some really gorgeous views to soak up!

Also have done just a bit of exploring! Granted I did sit on top of Cheat Mountain for about 36 days! And it was glorious! It seemed that summer was never going to arrive in WVa! It was almost cold several days, had lows in the upper 30's! Rain came through at least 3 days each week it seemed. And they were some pretty good t'storms!

 But I enjoyed them! I've always had a soft spot in my heart for t'storms!! 🐸

And when the storms and rain have passed, and things dry out some....and the evenings are just have to have a nice fire!!

 The past few days I went on a drive around the area to get out and see some more of the mountains. I headed to a little hamlet named Helvetia. It was settled in the mid-to-late 1800's by Swiss descendants. Very small, way back in the mountain valleys, lots of the original buildings still being used. Just such a grand place to slow down and go back in time. There is no cell service there. If you have internet, it is satellite from what I could see. Some of my new friends here allowed me to park on their property, and it was gorgeous!



I loved the place! It was so peaceful, beautiful & just refreshing! 








In Helvetia the little store has been in the same building since the beginning of the last century! And the masks hanging that are used for the feast of getting rid of "Old Man Winter" just really make the place!









 The Post Office is also in the store...and it has been a long time since I saw such a small Post Office! But I think it is great that there are still places where you truly take a step back in time when you come upon these little jewels of the past!

And to be able to still see and step into the past in such a way is so reassuring! That there are still folks that like this way of life gives me a bit of hope for this fast paced society that we seem to live in today!








 The library was in a very old building. And a very well kept up "old" building! There were more shelves of books there than I expected to see and the open hours tickled me....I believe it was Wednesday & Saturdays from 1100 - 1600! Such a place!




And right next to the library was a small building that I think was one of the original homes. It is the museum for Helvetia, with a lot of items and history in a very small space! But to see things that are over 150 years old and still in actual usable shape is just amazing!

I stopped in Pickens, WVa also. It seems to actually be smaller than Helvetia! But they are known for their "Maple Festival" each year.  So they have their spot in the mountains here also!

Then on the way back to Elkins stopped in at Holly River SP. Really nice area, very well kept up, large campground, swimming pool, lots of open area for kids to run, cabins that can be rented, a nice office/gift shop and even a restaurant there!

One more stop along the road back...the WVa Wildlife WMA & Recreation Area. As with most of what I've found in is clean, well kept up and has a nice gift shop with small "cafe" available. The park it self is a wildlife watching area with path ways....but, if you have a hard time with walking, you might just want to sit and watch from the vehicles are allowed past the parking area, all is on foot! So needless to say, I didn't get to wander through there.

So I'm back in Elkins til "payday". Visiting some friends, doing laundry, working on several things also that I hope to have done & out to everyone in the next few weeks.

So for now, I hope to see some of you out here in the woods!

Until that day...

Be Safe, Travel Easy & To The Woods!




Friday, July 8, 2022

Monthly Restock!

I'm in Elkins, WVa for a couple of days. Time for a monthly restock & laundry time! Goal reached....have gone 31 days between laundry runs! And also time for monthly Wally order!
Had a 0700 pickup time, but got my order at 0650! I really do not like shopping, so being able to do a pickup is right down my alley!!

I love hummingbirds! I can sit & watch them for hours...which is exactly what I did! 🤠 They are just amazing little creatures. But it should be pretty close to time for them to head farther North to their nesting grounds.
So I'll get to visit with them next year or possibly later this season if I'm her late enough this year for their migration South.

Spent one night at the Stonecoal Dispersed CG. It is right along the river and a really nice area. Quite cool & quiet. Only 17 sites. 2 vault toilets & really well kept up.
And it rained the whole time I was in there! LOL! But that guaranteed a cool evening & night.
My sinuses don't appreciate the pollen, but my eyes & senses do love the flowers up in these mountains.
I'm waiting on a package to get here, so might be in town a couple days longer than I planned. But once it gets here & I get on the road I'll be making a +/- 140 mile drive, a big circle. Several really neat places to visit & the photography should be excellent.
So that sorta gets me caught up! I stayed on Cheat Mtn 4+ weeks this go round. The little road trip I'm going to do will be 4-6 days, then back onto Cheat Mtn! The difference in the temps & "heaviness" of the air is rather astounding! The cool, clear air of the mountains is calling!

Be Safe, Travel Easy & To The Woods!

C'ya, Frog & Abbie

Friday, June 17, 2022

Back on Cheat Mtn

Have returned back onto Cheat Mtn! The 2500 foot increase in elevation is just mind blowing the difference in "climate"! It is so much cooler here. While in town I almost let myself get way too hot. Took a few hours to cool down. So cut down number of errands, got laundry done.... And..... Topped off Lily-for $138.00! Aaarrrgggghhhhh!

Anyway - back on the mountain, breezy, 70°, calling for more rain, a grand day!

Hope this finds everyone doing well & you're keeping an eye on your personal "coolness"!
More pics to come soon!
Be Safe....Travel Easy..... Go to the Woods!

Frog & Abbie
🐸        🐶

Saturday, June 4, 2022

West Virginia - "Almost Heaven", as the song goes!!



A little out of focus!!
Made it to West Virginia! A bit later than planned, but, "I have a very flexible schedule"!! So here we are in the mountains until sometime in September!


Getting closer!
And it feels so good to be back! It is still warm in the low areas of the state, but once you get into the mountains....oh, it is "almost heaven"! At least for me it is! As I say, I look for 45-75 degrees all year. Woke up this morning and it was a very pleasant 46 degrees!



But, as I always "plan"....things don't always go real smoothly! And when you have a "home" that is 27 years old & sits on a van chassis....well, things just happen!

A bad day, driver!!
A bad day, Driver!!
Was on I-77 getting close to Elkins, WVa when Lily started making some odd noise that I was not used to. And so hit the shoulder and started checking her out...and....the outer wheel bearing on the driver's side was the issue.

Some of the highway workers stopped to lend a hand, and with a surprisingly easy job, we got down to the bearing and it was a bit dry of grease, so they had grease, repacked it and in short time, back on the road for the rest of the trip to Elkins.

Once in Elkins I went by "my" tire shop here and had 2 new tires put on the suitcase. Went up a size and from 4 to 6-ply tires. The forest roads here are not like the one out West. Here the main ones are covered with a layer of crushed granite! And that stuff is a bit on the sharp side. And I had no desire of blowing 2 year old tires with 20,000+ miles on them.  


Next day, I was running a couple of errands before heading up to Cheat Mountain to start the summer....and....well, that bearing I decided to just totally go to pieces....literally!!


Thankfully I was only, maybe, a quarter mile from the tire shop when it let go. So I "hobbled" Lily back to the shop and the repairs began. Now keep in mind, Lily IS 27 years old! And for some reason, the parts shops just don't see the need to keep bearings for a vehicle that old in stock! So Lily, Abbie & myself spent the night parked in front of Bay 1 at the shop! (I even called my parts guru in AL to make sure we were trying for the right bearing, since they had sent a total of 7 bearings to try out!) And guess what, not a single of the stores in AL had them in stock either!!

So next morning, bright and early, Lily had new bearings installed  and was ready to roll!! Left the shop and drove, oh, maybe 3 miles, to the Wally to get the last couple of things I needed. When I came out, put away the things I'd bought, hopped behind the wheel.....and Lily would not run! She would try to run, but no such luck!

The brand new, in-line fuel pump - the one that had been installed less than 3 weeks earlier - had died! And I mean dead died!!!! Yippee!!

A couple of friends here brought me a floor jack, and I proceeded to remove the NEW pump and go to get a replacement for it! There are some good things about the big box stores that have all their shops connected, so they could pull up the account, verify I had just bought it in AL and give me another NEW pump!  LOL!

An hour later, it was installed, everything put up, Lily purring away....and we were driving away to get up on the mountain before dark and rain got here!

So, all that being said....We are here!!!

There will be more coming soon...places to see, pictures to take & share, and cool weather to talk about!

Stick with us, I think this will be a good summer with lots to share!

C'ya soon! And remember.....

Be Safe, Travel Easy and Go to the Woods!!

Frog & Abbie