Captured On A Pirate Ship

Well, now we’ve done it. The pirates have locked us below deck while they go ashore, no doubt for a healthy ration of rum. Mike, Dawn, Steve and I only have one option, we have to figure out how to get topside and sail out of the harbor before the pirates return. The clock is ticking. We only have an hour to figure where the keys to freedom can be found. If the pirates return, they will surely make us walk the plank.

Why don’t we call for help you ask? They confiscated our phones! As we look around we are overwhelmed about where to even start…

We each pick a part of the room to search, nervous laughter escapes from us as we struggle to find the clues…failure is not an option. Then we could hear it, a soft voice whispering a clue…”I’ve heard pirates like to hide things under the stairs?” We followed the clues, deciphered the ciphers and solved the mind-bending puzzles only to get stuck on the very last lock. We could hear the pirates coming across the bay in their rowboat. Singing, “Yo, ho ho and a bottle of rum. Arrrrgggh” With only moments to spare, that faint whisper said “Follow the clue exactly, hurry” In our race against the clock, we had been overlooking one step on the lock. With literally seconds to spare, we burst through the door and made our way to freedom.

Well, how did we get into such a pickle to begin with? We had booked an adventure with Northern Michigan Escape Rooms, LLC in Grayling, MI. None of us had ever experienced an escape room first hand but we had all heard stories of how much fun it could be.

The Forrester family opened their escape adventure rooms in 2016. On the night we were there, it was Stan’s wife, Mary Jo who was the faint whisperer of clues and encouragement. She never gave us any direct answers, but her hints would spark an idea. Without her helpful prodding the pirates would have made us into shark stew for sure.

Mary Jo showed us the other escape rooms they offer. They have a speakeasy…

And a very cool room for two , submarine. A perfect date night adventure…

Mary Jo even showed us the newest room in progress, Hetephere’s Tomb. (Since completed) We were amazed at how resourceful the Forrester family is, nearly everything was either repurposed, recycled or homemade, but the results were incredible.

It was a fantastic way to spend an hour with friends. When we arrived, our attitude was, “What the hell, we’ll try it”, by the time we finished our attitude was “Wow! I’d do that again!”

Have you ever done an escape room? Did you enjoy it?

Up next…

A visit to Elk Park

A Lighthouse Road Trip On The Shores of Lake Huron

I love lighthouses. I always have. In fact if I were to go through my map collection, I would find several maps dedicated to lighthouse locations by state. I have lighthouse locator app on my phone. I even have a United States Lighthouse Society Passport.

We left Bambi Lake early one morning to start the hour drive that would lead us to the shores of Lake Huron. Lake Huron is the second largest of the great lakes, but has the longest shoreline, over 3800 miles.

Our first stop was the Sturgeon Point Lighthouse. The buildings were closed due to Covid, but the grounds were open for exploration.

Standing on the shore, it’s easy to understand why the EPA calls the great lakes “freshwater seas”. There is no land on the distant horizon and the waves crash to shore as if it were the ocean…

I spent more time than necessary walking along the shores picking up pretty rocks only to decide to leave them for the next person. After all, Waldo can only carry so much weight.

We had planned on going further north, but we realized we would definitely run out of daylight before we ran out of lighthouses to visit. Instead we headed south to Apena. The lighthouse there is at the mouth of the Thunder Bay River and can be seen by walking along a boardwalk atop of the Apena breakwater.

While the lighthouse isn’t as fancy as many, I still enjoyed seeing it.

Click here for more lighthouse info…

Our final destination for the day was Tawas Point State Park. There have been record high water levels in Tawas Bay and the evidence is plain to see…

After we parked, we walked along one of the nature trails to get to the lighthouse. Once again, the lighthouse was closed due to Covid, so no tours were being offered. We had to settle for an outside view…

It’s probably just as well, I think my days of climbing lighthouse stairs are over. But it is always neat to tour the light keeper’s residence.

We had ventured as far south as we thought we could and still make it back to Bambi Lake before dinner so with that, we left the shores of Lake Huron and returned to Roscommon.

Ah, so many lighthouses, so little time!

Up next…

We get locked in on a pirate ship, oh dear!

Pure Michigan!

We said goodbye to our new friend Eddie and headed north to meet up with some old friends, Mike and Dawn from Random Bits of Trial and Error. It had been a hot minute since we’d last had a chance to meet up and relaxing in northern Michigan sounded like just the ticket.

Mike and Dawn had been raving about Bambi Lake for years and we wanted to know what all the hoopla was about. Well, to start with, Bambi Lake is a privately owned lake, nestled in 240 acres of beautiful Michigan woodlands with direct access to several of the state’s ORV trails. After getting checked in, Mike guided us to our site. Since it was already mid-September, the campground was nearly deserted…

We spent lazy afternoons around the campfire and quiet evenings sharing meals with friends. Our original plan was to spend 2 weeks there, but somehow, it stretched into nearly 4 weeks.

Fall is a lovely time to be in Michigan. The changing leaves and crisp mornings leave you feeling alive…

And what could be better than an afternoon of fishing…

One of our day trips was a drive up to Mackinaw City. Our ultimate destination was St. Ignace on the Upper Peninsula for a pasty. Get your mind out of the gutter! Pasty rhymes with nasty NOT tasty. We were told the pasty is the quintessential Upper Peninsula food. If you’d like to read about the fascinating history of the pasty, click here. As we drove into Mackinaw City, we chose to pass on this lunch option…

One of the big draws of Mackinaw City is the Mackinaw (or if you prefer Mackinac) Bridge. With Lake Michigan on one side and Lake Huron on the other side, it is an impressive suspension bridge. It is 28′ short of being 5 miles long and is the longest suspension bridge between anchorages in the Western Hemisphere. While we had no fear of traversing the bridge, many do. At mid-span, the bridge deck is 199′ or 61 meters above the water. The Mackinac Bridge Authority used to offer an escort service for people who were afraid to drive across themselves, but it has been discontinued.

My blue dot locator button is on the bridge.

It was chilly when we started the day, so we definitely were dressed for the weather…

Here, we are on the Lake Huron side of the bridge

The city has several lovely parks along the shores. We saw lots of people taking advantage of them…

A short walk from this city park is Michilimackinac State Park where the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse is…

The day had warmed up nicely and once we had our fill of parks and lighthouses we headed over the bridge to St. Ignace. Unfortunately, we only had enough time for a quick drive around town, but it certainly looked like a neat place to spend the day (or two). Upper Peninsula residents are called Yoopers. Yoopers refer to people who live in the Lower Peninsula as “trolls” since they live “under” the Mackinac Bridge. Apparently, Michiganders have a sense of humor. What they are VERY serious about is, you guessed it, pasties! Mike and Dawn have a favorite place satisfy their pasty cravings, Lehto’s.

We could smell the deliciousness as soon as we drove up! Mike was kind enough to take a shot of our first ever pasty experience…

All I can say if YUUUUMMMMMMY! It was so filling, we didn’t even have dinner that night.

With our bellies beyond full, we headed back to Bambi Lake in a bit of a food coma. But, dang, it was worth it! The setting sun provided us with a perfect ending to our day trip…

More Michigan Day Tripping

Back To Our Kentucky Adventures!

Before I got sidetracked, you may remember, we were having fun in Kentucky. I had written about mines and an abandon town, I had also written about a cave, a quarry and a new friend. What I hadn’t gotten around to sharing was the actual reason we went to Kentucky int he first place. A few years ago, I read a post from Justin and Stacy over at Opting Out of Normal. They have an entire series about finding “hidden gems” in their travels called “Off The Beaten Path“. When I read their post Off the Beaten Path in Kentucky. Our Top 5 Hidden Gems! I knew we’d have to go someday.

Well, someday finally rolled around. Their post says this hidden gem can be found at Grayson Lake. Hmmm, where? Grayson Lake is a 1500 acre lake with several boat launches. We drove to the Clifty Creek boat launch where we found a fairly busy launch and several friendly locals willing to share the mysterious location…

When I asked how “exactly” to get to the falls, no one could quite give me an answer but most peoples’ directions included things like “after you pass the big rock, you will see a cliff with a dead tree on top, go left there and you can’t miss it” or “paddle for about and hour and a half and take the waterway to your left, it’ll be right in front of you.” Ooooo-K. Easy-peasy. A few days later, we returned to the launch ready to find that waterfall!

It was a beautiful day and the paddling was easy and smooth. Clifty Creek is nestled in between wonderful sandstone cliffs which loom above you. Years of water and weather have carved them into some fascinating patterns…

Sometimes, we actively paddled, while other times, we just floated along and took in all the scenery…

There were several waterfalls along the way, but none of them were the one we came find…

One thing I began to realize is the fact that there are LOTS of “cliffs with a dead tree on top”! How would I know the right one when I saw it?

Is it this one?
Or maybe this one?

And, hey folks, they are ALL “big rocks”! I was beginning to think we would never find this hidden gem. Occasionally, we would pass another watercraft and every time I asked if we were heading the right direction, they would say yes. Ok, keep paddling. We rounded a small bend in the creek, we finally saw THE big rock…

A bit further and we came to an area where we could choose left or right. Everyone had said take the left, so we did. As I neared the what seemed to be a dead end, I began to hear what I was sure was a thundering waterfall, but where was it? When another kayaker seemed to appear out of nowhere, I knew what we had to do.

Watch what happens when you paddle into a “dead end”

I was astounded! This is what we came to find!! Grotto Falls! There wasn’t much room in the grotto. I doubt you could fit more than a couple kayaks in at a time. I paddled the kayak in a 360 to film the entire grotto…

Wow, just wow!

Not wanting to hog the grotto, we paddled back out to make room for others to enjoy the falls. I managed to get turned around quick enough to get a picture of Steve reappearing…

It had definitely been worth the paddle! Thank you to Opting Out of Normal for writing about this hidden gem! You were right on the money!

Up Next…

Heading to Michigan

Thanks for stopping by!

First Time Being Asked To Review An RV Product

A few weeks ago, I received an email asking me to write a review blog in exchange for trying a newly launched RV storage utility bag, made by HumanFriendly, based in California. What I asked myself is whether or not this would solve a current problem we have. I decided to go ahead and give it a try. Here’s what I decided…

The Problem…

Piles of hoses, cables and extension cords! To get to the 50′ 30a electrical cord, I first have to move my water hoses and extension cords. And heaven forbid I need to get to those heavy duty jumper cables on the bottom!

We received a 3 pack of the utility bags. The bottom half of the bag is made from a durable polyester fabric while the top is mesh with a drawstring. They measure 16X16X10. The inside is lined with a waterproof coating. They also come with a nicely sized rubber tag, color coded for easy identification.

Do they work for water hoses?

70′ of water hoses

Do they work for electrical cables?

One 50′ 30a cord, one 50′ heavy duty extension cord, one 50′ regular extension cord and one 30a adapter!

Do they work for sewer hoses?

One sewer hose with adapter

The Solution

The bottom line

The bags appear to be well designed and built. I think they should last for a long time. And I do think they solved our problem. I can also think of uses for them in a stick and brick house. RVers might be the only ones toting around a sewer hose, but almost every household has electrical cords and water hoses.

The Bonus!

I was told in the email that I could host a giveaway. If you would like to try a set of these bags, leave a note in the comment section and on November 2nd, I will pick one winner at random from the comments.

We are an Amazon affiliate. Wee make a small percentage on qualifying purchases. To get your RV storage utility bag, made by HumanFriendly, click here.

UP Next

Kentucky Continued

Navigating Bumpy Roads

We all travel different roads and the path isn’t always clear or easy.

2020 found us hunkering down in Florida while we waited for travel restrictions to end and for RV parks to re-open. We were (and are still) lucky to be able to park Waldo at Daddy’s house. We had friends who were on the road and unable to find places to stay. The uncertainty of the future weighed on everyone.

I spent my time finding projects around the house. I remove the 1970’s wallpaper from a bathroom at Daddy’s…

I refinished a cast iron patio set our neighbor gave us…

We were in Florida long enough for me to watch the life cycle of the Echo Moth…

While I busied myself with these things, I just couldn’t find the motivation to keep writing blog posts. I marveled at how some bloggers were able to stay relevant, how they dug into the past, dreamed about the future or adapted to a changing world. In August last year, we began traveling again. I was able to motivate myself to write a couple posts, but I was still having trouble between wanting to spent more of my time enjoying our travels and not spending the time and effort it takes to write a good post. I didn’t stop taking pictures, but I did stop doing any editing. All pictures, the good, the bad, and the ugly went into a properly labeled folder with the intention to review them later. Most still sit in those folders today.

We rounded out 2020 with another fabulous season selling Christmas trees followed by New Year’s fireworks. Things were looking up. After a pretty sedate 2020 (with no campground jobs), our bank account was finally looking like it would survive. THEN along came 2021.

Steve has been doing some work for a company in South Bend, IN. Most of it is consulting, but in late March we began a month long journey to South Bend. Our plan was for Steve to spend 10 days working in South Bend then to head west to visit a friend in Utah before heading back to Florida for 4th of July firework sales. One of our first stops was in Alabama. We spent a relaxing week at a COE park, everything was lovely until…

So….that wasn’t fun! But, hey, bad weather can strike anywhere. By mid April, we were in a state park in Indiana. Our last stop before heading to South Bend. I had never given any thought to when it stops snowing in Indiana but…

What makes this unbearable for me is this is when Waldo’s furnace decided to quit!

The outside temperature is on top, but the more disturbing number is the inside temp on the bottom. No thanks!! Steve was able to diagnose the problem and we had the part shipped to South Bend. In the meantime, he bought a space heater so I wouldn’t freeze to death. As soon as we were settled into our spot in South Bend, Steve repaired the furnace and we spent the next 10 days in relative comfort. That is until the refrigerator went the way of the furnace. Yeah, I know, Waldo is 21 years old, these things are bound to happen. Well crap!! Since we have a portable fridge/freezer in Waldo’s basement, we decided to hold off on rushing to do any repairs. He did spend a lot of time narrowing down the possible causes. They ranged from minor, relatively inexpensive to major and downright costly!

We left South Bend on May 1st, I was so glad to be heading towards someplace fun! I had our entire trip to Utah planned out and reservations made. If it sounds like this is when I started truly having fun, you’d be wrong…

Yep, that’s Waldo broken down on the side of the road. I won’t go into all the details but to make a long story short, Waldo needed a new motor. Out with the old…

In with the new…

It took 15 days for the Cat dealer to replace the motor. The final bill was more than $10,000 OVER what they told us to begin with. I was sick. We had a “rainy day fund” but this wasn’t rain, this was a deluge. Thankfully, my dad was able to loan us enough money to cover the bill. There’s way more to the story and some day, if you want to hear it, I’ll write about it.

Two weeks behind schedule we began our journey west, finally! We had a great time taking in the natural beauty of Utah and spent a rejuvenating week with a friend we hadn’t seen in nearly 3 years.

We made it back to Florida the first week of June, just in time to get ready for 4th of July fireworks again. Oh yeah, what about that fridge?

We had our choice of buying a new one or replacing the cooling unit. After the repair bill at the Cat dealer, we chose to replace the cooling unit!! I’m happy to report it is working great!

This post isn’t what I normally write about, but it is exactly what real life is like. There are a lot of bumpy roads, but thankfully there are more smooth ones! I have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to telling you about our adventures. I’ve always tried to stay fairly current in reference to our location but I think it’s time I get back to editing my pictures and show you more of our wonderful smooth roads! If you want to know where we currently are, follow TheWanderingRVer on Facebook or Instagram.

Thank you for allowing me to vent. I hope all of your roads are smooth.

A Cave, A Quarry and A New Friend

While we enjoyed our week at Shady Valley, cell service was non-existent and wi-fi was iffy at best. We used one of our days there to scout out a new park. We decided on Carter Caves State Resort Park. There wasn’t any availability until the following Sunday so we booked a Sunday to Friday stay and finished out our week at Shady Valley.

In the mean time, we had a bit of maintenance to do on Waldo. One day we stopped at a local parts store. I waited in the Jeep while Steve did his shopping. A guy pulls up next to me in a home made street legal dune buggy, gets out looks at our license plate and asks if we “drove that thing all the way from Florida?” I laughed and said “No, we tow it behind our motorhome, we live in it full-time.” We were still chatting when Steve came out. The guy stuck out his hand and said, “Hi, I’m Eddie, my wife calls me Gabby.” Steve and I nodded our understanding and hung out in the parking lot for another half hour BS-ing. It was a completely comfortable conversation by some like minded adventurers. We told him we were going to be moving to Carter Caves at the end of the week. He informed us that is his “stomping grounds”, he drives through nearly every night (since he doesn’t live far away). We left him with an invitation to stop by if he sees the Jeep.

Sunday rolled around and we made our move, wondering if we would see him again. Sure enough, on Monday, Eddie stopped by. He was driving a different buggy this time…

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He turned down my offer of a beer, proclaiming it was against the beer rules. You ALWAYS bring your own beer. Only if you run out, is it ok to drink someone else’s. We sat around, each drinking our own beer and talking until late in the evening. He was a fountain of information about the area and gave us lots of ideas on places to visit. 

One of the days we were there, we toured Cascade Cave. It was a really cool series of caves, with lots of bats getting settled in for their winter hibernation. Unfortunately, none of my cute bat pictures came out, so you’ll have to settle for cave pictures…

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The last part of the cave we visited was a 30′ waterfall..

There were also several hiking trails to explore. We took the 3 Bridges Trail as far as the first bridge which was impressive in size…

The person gives a bit of perspective on the size
Looking back towards the entrance

One evening, Eddie stopped by and asked if we had found the quarry he had told us about. We admitted we had looked, but not found it. He offered to lead the way. He needed gas, so we followed him to the station where we both filled up. He said, “Hey, we aren’t far from my house, wanna stop in there first.” “Sure”, we said. I don’t really know what I was expecting, but his home is beautiful! Complete with a huge fishing pond his wife is working on. Eddie grabbed a bowl of dog food and tossed into the pond, the result was dozens of huge catfish vying for their share. About this time, his wife came from working on the other side of the pond and introductions were made. Her and I chatted while Eddie showed Steve the garage and his “buggy in progress”. Eddie checked the time and said we should get going if we want to see sunset at the quarry.

15 minutes later, we came to this…

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Eddie offered to take our picture, he laughed when he handed me back my phone. He had taken several pictures, including…

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He explained he always takes a bunch of pictures, especially before people are ready. Turns out the best picture of us WAS before we were ready…

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Later, he proved again the best picture is probably the one before you are ready…

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My expression leaves something to be desired, but it is clear we were laughing and having fun. I took a couple pictures of our rides by the pond…

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And further up the trail…

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Just before sunset, I got a picture of Eddie drinking “The Best Damn Beer I Ever Drank”

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Steve and I called it a night while Eddie settled in for his evening at the quarry.

Thursday, I texted Eddie and invited him over for a campfire on our final night at the park. He said he was working on a souvenir and would be over later. When he arrived, I had a roaring fire going and we sat around talking about how much fun the last week had been. Eddie walked over to his buggy and came back with a surprise for us. Walking sticks he had made from locust tree limbs with our names and Kentucky 2020…

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We were shocked. It was such a “from the heart” souvenir. We have crossed paths with so many people over the last 3 1/2 years, very few have made us feel so special.

Up next – A Kayak Trip to Grotto Falls

Adventures in the Bluegrass State

We headed straight to Kentucky – The Bluegrass State when we left New Hampshire. Time with family and friends was great, but I was ready for some adventures. Our original plan was to boondock in the Daniel Boone National Forest, just outside of Morehead. There were two main reasons we nixed that idea, first being the was absolutely no cell service but the main reason was when we got to Paragon Road, the sites were muddy and soft. I could have lived with no service, but if we had gotten Waldo into the site, it would have taken a tow truck to get him out.

We spent the first week at Shady Valley Campground in Grayson. I rarely book a campground that has a Facebook page as it’s website, particularly if it isn’t updated regularly. But, I made an exception and it turned out well. Our site was fairly level and spacious…

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We did have a freaky visitor make his home on our picnic table…

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Several Google searches later, I learned it was a female Arrowshaped Micrathena spider. I know lots of people don’t want anything to do with spiders, but I thought she was cool.

We spent most of the week just driving around the area and seeing what there was to do. We explored backroads and small towns, we discovered the fact that Kentucky still has lots of dry counties – in 2020 – who’d have thought that!?!?!?

Anyhow, one of our daytrips included a stop at Greenbo Lake State Resort Park . We were quite surprised when we learned there are no day use fees for any of the Kentucky State Parks. As we toured the park, we saw how much there is to do, they even have miniature golf (for a very small fee). As we were leaving the park, we came across this…

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It’s hard to imagine all of the work that went into building it. I’m sure it produced a heck of a lot of Kentucky iron in its day. On the way back to the campground, we took a detour to see this…

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I have always loved covered bridges and photographing them. There were picnic tables inside, but the gates were chained shut, presumably because of Covid.

Back at the campground, I searched for somewhere to explore the next day. What I found piqued my curiosity! An abandoned town with an abandon mine. Who could resist?

We came to the abandon town of Lawton first. We explored everywhere it was safe to go…

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When we came to the final building, I didn’t think much would still be inside…

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As we walked around, we found an intact door that had a lock on it. I’ll go through any open door, but I draw the line at breaking in. There were several boards missing along the foundation so I was able to peek inside, imagine my surprise…

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I have no idea how long those vehicles have been in there, but I can’t imagine it’ll be easy to get them out. The roof is failing, the walls are leaning precariously and who knows if the floor is safe.

We drove on a few miles and found the entrance to what is now called Mushroom Mine. Originally, it was the Tygart Limestone company which shut down after WW II. Some time in the mid-60’s a group of Kentucky farmers decided to turn it into a mushroom farm. That lasted until the mid-80’s. In 2004, 2 bodies were found inside about a 1/4 mile from one of the entrances. The couple had been missing several months and their son was ultimately charged in their murder. In 2006, the mine was the center of a scam involving the building of a data storage site. Read more history here.

I was surprised how accessible the mine was…

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Armed with flashlights, we entered the mine. It was obvious lots of people drive in, but we left the Jeep outside and walked. Near the entrances, there is plenty of light…

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But the further in you go, the darker it gets. We found plenty of evidence of the mushroom farm…

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Rooms and rooms of growing trays. The farther in we went, the more water we encountered until we were forced to turn back. A selfie in the nearly pitch black surroundings…

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Back outside, we explored what was supposed to be the data farm buildings. Half built structures with tons of graffiti. I don’t care for the subject matter, but some of the “artists” had talent…

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Nature taking over
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Graffiti

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The mine was definitely creepy, but so much fun to explore.

Have you ever explored an abandon place?

Up next – the move to Carter Caves State Resort Park.

Getting High in the Granite State

I’ll start by saying there are lots of ways the title of this post can be taken and I want to clarify, I’m not talking about any illicit substances. Steve and I recently spent a month in New Hampshire mooch-docking at his brothers house. Mooch-docking is parking in someone’s driveway and plugging into their house power and water. This is our second time staying at Steve’s brother’s house and this year, he installed a 30 amp outlet for us.

Our first high was getting Waldo leveled. Generally we can do it using just the jacks, but, sometimes you need several 4×6’s and a step stool! Note the blocks of wood under Waldo’s front wheels and how high the step is.

We had several reasons for going to NH, but family and friends topped the list. Steve’s nephew was getting married. It was a small ceremony, in an open field, surrounded by loved ones. All the love and happy feelings floating around qualified as another kind of high!

Plus, it gave Steve and I a reason to dress up a bit…

Many afternoons were spent quietly sitting on the porch, watching all of the hummingbirds enjoying the summer…

Then there was the day I was sitting in Waldo, just goofing off when a bear walked through the yard…

Not a great picture, but I was shooting out the window!

We spent a wonderful day with the family in York Beach, Maine. It was amazing to me that 4 car loads of people all managed to arrive at the meeting place within half an hour of each other! Quite the feat since we were all coming from different towns in NH.

Steve spent 3 1/2 weeks of the time we were in NH working for the towing company his brother works for. Near the end of his time there, he went of a road call involving an overturned cement truck…

Steve gets high on cement

One benefit of Steve working full-time is I had time to go kayaking with one of my best friends. She took me to an out of the way pond and we spent a glorious afternoon on the water!

A hidden pond

The family got together on several occasions, laughter and fun prevailed…

On the morning we were leaving, we discovered Waldo had a flat tire. Luckily, his nephew was able to find the leaky valve stem and pump up the tire.

Since we had been mooch-docking for 36 nights, our black and grey tanks needed to be emptied, Phil was kind enough to dig up his septic tank to we wouldn’t have to slosh our way to the next campground!

And, I’ll end this post with my favorite sunset picture from our time in NH…

Up next – Kentucky Bound!

Georgia’s Waterfall Heaven

If there’s one item in nature I really enjoy photographing, it’s waterfalls. Big ones, little ones, roaring ones – I don’t care. During our visit to the Georgia coast, Steve picked up a tourist magazine with an ad for the Georgia mountains featuring, you guessed it, waterfalls.

As we made our travel plans for heading north, we decided to stay a week at the southern end of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Georgia. A quick search on Google maps showed there were well over a dozen waterfalls we could visit. One of the determining factors for me was how strenuous was the hike? Anything over easy/moderate and I’m out. One review I read on a hiking forum stated “trail is difficult to follow, not well marked and dangerous”. Needless to say, we skipped that one!

On Monday, we headed out to Anna Ruby Falls, only to discover it is currently closed on Mondays. So we stopped at Fred’s Famous Peanuts to check out their store and waterwheel…

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I may put that sign on Waldo!

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Care for some TOE or FROG Jam?

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We did skip the boiled peanut samples, they just aren’t my thing, but the store was a neat stop on the way to the next falls.

The trail to Dukes Creek Falls starts off with an easy boardwalk and switch backs several times, making it more like a 2 mile walk in the woods (round trip) than a hike…

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Once we reached the viewing decks, we did come across a few other people, but it was still fairly peaceful. I’m a huge fan of long exposure shots of water…

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But, sometimes, it can add a bit of weird…

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Over the 2 1/2 seconds it took to take this image, the swirling bubbles in the water created a face. I didn’t see it until I downloaded the picture onto the computer. A lady there was kind enough to take a picture with my phone for us…

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Since it was still early when we got back to the Jeep, we decided to try and get 2 waterfalls in one day. We headed to Horsetrough Falls, only to find the Forest Service road blocked off. On the way back to Waldo, we stopped off in the town of Helen. It seemed like a strange place to have an alpine Bavarian style town…

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But it was fun to walk around. We found an outdoor bar/grill and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon just relaxing. River tubing is a big draw in Helen and shuttle buses run constantly…

Helen-3614

Tuesday we headed back to Anna Ruby Falls. They are only allowing 65 cars in the parking lot at a time to help people keep socially distant, so I can’t imagine how crowed the trail would have been otherwise! The trail is paved the entire way, but, holy hell, it is steep! Thankfully, there are lots of benches along the way and interesting signs to read while you give your legs a rest. Anna Ruby is a double falls and it was difficult to get a good picture of them both with the sun shining on one and not the other…

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So, I contented myself with individual shots of the falls…

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Anna Ruby Falls-3636

Anna Ruby Falls-8846

The trail follows the river and I took quite a few pictures of the rushing water. These are some of my favorites…

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Anna Ruby Falls-3671

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My favorite hike was to Helton Creek Falls. 3 miles down a narrow dirt road you find the parking area. There are upper and lower falls and it is a pretty easy walk to them. People generally stop quickly at the lower falls, snap a few selfies then head up to the upper falls with its swimming area.

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Helton Creek-8861

Since we didn’t plan on swimming, I liked the lower falls better.

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Helton Creek-3697

We were running out of days, but definitely not waterfalls. We opted to spend our last day just driving around. The Russell–Brasstown Scenic Byway was twisty, turn-y and steep but definitely worth the drive. There is a scenic overlook at the top and you are treated to a stunning view of Hogpen Gap…

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The list of places I’d like to return to some day keeps growing. I call it “Bucket List 2.0”

Have you ever visited northern Georgia? What was your favorite place?

Up next – New Hampshire bound