Our Return Road Trip home from Washington DC – Chapter 4 Days 27-50 (Overnight in DE, NJ, PA, OH, WV, KY, TN, AR)

Rehoboth, DE – Delaware Seashore State Park (2-night stay)  Delaware Seashore State Park:   There are North and South RV campground sites, they are located just over the bridge from each other.  Fortunately, our sites were on the North side and obviously the better, more popular side.  The park is basically a parking lot, no trees, no landscape; however, clean public bathroom/shower facilities, and close to the marina with a restaurant although the restaurant was not open the few days we were visiting.  If you are like us in that you like water views from your RV, it is important to know that although the ocean is located just on the other side of the public parking lot/bridge from the campgrounds, there are large sand dunes, obstructions preventing any view from either campground sites of the ocean beach.  However, there are limited campground sites that offer the bay view which is nice.  There are sidewalk – fishing areas along the bay side, near the campsites and it is an easy, short-walking distance to access the ocean beach.

When we arrived on SundayApril, 29, it was extremely cold and windy.  We set-up camp and drove into Rehoboth for dinner and a Walmart run.  Crabby Dick’s was our selection for a combination lunch/dinner and the food was good, but the service was lacking.  Monday morning the 25 mph winds continued with temperatures in low 40’s, but it did warm up into the 60’s and the wind stopped by 2-3 pm.  IMG_2947It was a great time walking on the beach collecting seashells and letting the dogs run off-leash, as the beach was pretty-much deserted.  IMG_2954We saw our first-ever, Horseshoe Crab moving along the sand, heading to the ocean; actually saw a second Horseshoe Crab full of small seashell parasites covering it’s hard-shell that looked like it might be dying.  IMG_2940Bill picked it up and put it in the ocean, it kept flipping over with its bottom-side up, working its way back to beach, so not sure if was going to survive.  Monday evening we drove over to Bethany Beach, just the other side of the bridge, purchasing “fresh” seafood from Ocean View Seafood Market https://www.oceanviewseafood.com/Home .

Highly recommend, the owner was very nice and accommodating.  She packaged a few of our purchases for later consumption into vacuum-sealed packaging, provided a large styrofoam ice-chest to ice down our fresh seafood for our grocery stop and trip back to campground.  She even threw in cocktail sauce in small carry-out containers and a small container of Old Boil seasoning.  We purchased large shrimp and a full filet of salmon, went back to campground and grilled out the fabulous shrimp and salmon. Yummy!  Interesting, she was the only ‘fresh seafood market” open because we learned we were there in off-season.  A few of the markets don’t open until early May or at least one of the markets is only open on Fridays during the time we were visiting, opening every day into their season.

Tuesday, May 1, our departure day was an absolutely gorgeous day!  Temps in high 60’s, sunshine and no wind!  Wouldn’t you know it!  A couple of guys fishing in the bay brought in this shark.  We were enjoying our coffee outdoors and decided to delay our departure until 11:30, later than we usual depart a campground.  While the guys relaxed, the ladies decided to make a quick-drive over to  Bethany Beach which is closer to us than Rehoboth Beach shops for souvenir shopping.  Bethany is such a cute, quaint beach-side community and the shopping area was very nice.

Clarksboro, New Jersey – South Philadelphia KOA (1-night stay): Arrived early afternoon at campground in New Jersey.  Set-up camp, showered, and drove to metro-rail station to hop a train to Liberty Square. It was about the only thing we were going to be able to see with just one-afternoon/evening in Philly.  In fact, just barely made it to the Liberty Bell before their 6 pm closing.  Walked around area and had a very nice dinner at Spasso’s Italian Restaurant over-looking Penn’s Landing on the Delaware River.

IMG_3203Hummelstown, PA – Hershey Park Camping Resort (2-night stay):  Wednesday, May 2, arrived at campground and welcomed the warmer temps in the 80’s and no wind.  Finally warm weather for shorts, short-sleeve shirts and sandals!  Our two campsites backed up to Swatara Creek, a south-flowing tributary of the Susquehanna River.  We were the only 2-RV’s in this large camping area.  There were several campers on the upper campground area, closest to the entrance.  We like river-views so enjoyed our sites, although we learned the upper campground have full-hookups, and we had only electric and water, no sewer.

We spent most of Thursday visiting Hershey.  Hershey Chocolate World was our first stop and arrived shortly after their 9 am opening.  We spent time in their gigantic gift/souvenir area waiting for our “free” tour on the making our own chocolate with our own customized ingredients.  We were able to watch our individually made chocolate bars go through the entire process.  You first enter your name and email information into their kiosk and then each station shows your name on the monitor so you can follow your customized candy-bar throughout the process.  Once the candy-bar is near completion, you select your customized candy-wrapper on a kiosk.  Their guest information/brochure states you are able to make your own customized chocolate, your own customized label and you are able to take the candy-bar in your wrapper home with you.  However, because their quality control was not set-up, they threw all the candy-bars away at the end of the conveyor belt delivery and you were only able to keep your wrapper which they also emailed to you so you could have a copy.  It was fun watching and going through the actual candy-making process.

There was a “free” tour on a small indoor-train that was very cute with animated characters leading the guests through the making chocolate, starting with the cacao bean.  The talking animated characters (Kiss, Reese’s Cup and Hershey Bar) were adorable, resembling Magic Kingdom’s “It’s a Small World,” indoor train ride, although not near as long a ride.

Hershey Chocolate World offers other tours that require a purchase; however, we decided the “free” tours were all we wanted to take, leaving fun-money for the grandchildren’s souvenir purchases.   It was quite the challenge to select souvenirs for each of the grandchildren with all the choices and at their prices.

There is a large amusement park at Hersheypark, it was only open on the weekends until Memorial Day weekend when it opens 7-days a week.

We drove to the Hershey Gardens and took a few pics of their out-door gardens.  The Gardens were across from the historic Hershey Hotel, opening May 26, 1933.  It was a nice, short walk-through the lobby of the Hershey Hotel located on a hill-top overlooking Hershey.  We walked through a few of the hotel gift-shops deciding the prices were comparable to what we found at Chocolate World’s gift store.

We drove through the town of Hershey, stopping to take a few photos of their street lined street-lamp posts topped with silver and chocolate Hershey Kisses, so cute!SycamoreTree

This large Sycamore tree was in our campground.  It reminded me of the children’s Sunday School song, “Zacchaeus was a Wee Little Man,” Zacchaeus climbed up the Sycamore tree for the Lord he wanted to see.   Luke 19: 1-4.

 

 

Lore City, Ohio – Salt Fork State Park (3-night stay):  Salt Fork State Park is the largest park in Ohio.  It’s a nice park, although, there is only a slight view of the lake in a few of the RV campsites.

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Big Foot Territory Look Out!

Our first full-day, Saturday, May 5, we took a tour of the Stone House Museum, built 1840 for Benjamin Kennedy and remained in the Kennedy family until it was purchased in 1966 to become part of Salt Fork State Park.  It was inaccessible due to the roads washed out by floods for 40-years only access was by hikers or by boat.  An organization started by one of the descendants of the family began the restoration in 1995. The Docent provided really interesting information on the history of the family, land and house.  There was a large map, areas highlighted in brown with photos surrounding the map on one of the walls that can easily be over-looked when touring the Stone House.   The Docent told us that 213 families were forced off their land/farms under eminent domain when it was decided to turn all the area into Salt Lake State Park.   All of the families who lost their land were asked to submit photos of their families/farms to be remembered; the brown highlighted areas of the map were those who agreed to submit photos which were numbered to coincide on the map with the location of their land.  The Docent showed us all the land that was not highlighted was those who were so upset about their land being taken away, they did not submit photos.  The views of the Stone House were really nice views of the lake.   Benjamin Kennedy was of no relation to our presidential family, John F. Kennedy.  Although, Benjamin Kennedy did come from a very-wealthy Scottish decent and there were photos of the castle which was his home in Scotland.

After touring the Stone House we stopped by the McCleary Cemetery located in the park.  It’s interesting to see some of the old dates on tombstones, although many were too old to read.  In the evenings, we had a nice time just sitting around the campfires that Bill likes to make and cooking out and watching the sunset!

Roanoke, West Virginia – Stonewall Resort (4-nights):  Arrived Monday, May 7, late afternoon.  Our sites (#1 & #2) were in our opinion, the prettiest views in the

campground.  Views of the golf-course, Lodge, Boardwalk and mountain-tops, just beautiful!  The campground sites are all spacious with plenty of space between each.  There are designated marked spots to moor your boat, if you are bringing your own, located close to campsites.  The campground partners with the Lodge allowing campers to pay for access to the Lodge Pool, Exercise Room, and a 1-hour boat-ride tour of the lake for $15.00 per day for four people.  You can also purchase an Outfitter’s package for use of the canoes, kayaks, paddle boards and paddle boats for $15.00 per day, per person.  We purchased the $15.00 for four one afternoon and swam in their heated pool, we missed the boat-ride tour that was scheduled earlier that day.Stonewall Lodge

We played on their beautiful, awesome Arnold Palmer golf course one afternoon. Taking advantage of their twilight price of $70.00 per person after 2 pm.  What fun and experience!  The back-nine we saw several deer roaming the fairways.  On Hole #13, there is a wide marsh area and the deer were everywhere, one deer was in the pond pulling up vegetation from underneath the water, eating and not at all interrupted by my stopping to take photos.  This was a first for us to witness.

In the evenings, we enjoyed Bill’s campfires, watching the sun go down and the sky was clear to see the stars.

Orval had seen the very large, old historic building in Weston on one of his quick-errand runs and we were all curious to learn about it.  It is the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, built-in 1864 and operated up until 1994.  One rainy afternoon, Brenda and I went to town in search of Christmas Ornament souvenirs, driving to the Asylum to see the building and were able to tour a few of the rooms and gift shop without purchasing a tour ticket.  State Mental HospThe building was designed as Gothic/Tudor Revival architecture style.

Georgetown, Kentucky – Whispering Hills RV Park (3-night stay):  Arrived Friday, May 11, early afternoon.  The temperatures were in the high 80’s with bright sunshine, so we were now feeling the warmer weather after most of our road trip with colder temperatures and rainy days.  Saturday we spent the afternoon at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.

We immediately saw large groups of decorated Marines, many in uniform both active and retired, realizing there must be a special event at the park.  We soon learned they were unveiling the larger than life statue of Sgt. Reckless, a heroic Korean War horse.   Sgt. Reckless was a small Mongolian-bred mare who became a national hero in 1953 when she carried ammunition for the Marines during the Korean War.

As we were viewing the horses behind barred/gated barns, when we got to “Go for Gin” (1994 Kentucky Derby winner), one of his handlers offered to take the horse out of the barn for us to get a good picture of the horse which was awesome since this horse was not one of the horses that was shown in the “Hall of Champion” event we attended.  The Show of Breeds was entertaining as the riders wore costume and the breed of horses shown were described while being ridden in the horse arena.  The most interesting fact learned and observed was that of the Arabian horse whose ears can move around and point toward sounds (each ear can rotate around 180 degrees).  We knew that foxes ears rotated outward toward sounds, but it was really cool to actually see the Arabian horse’s ears rotated outwards towards the crowd of spectators.  What a beautiful show with the very beautiful, uniquely different breed of horses.

The guys, Bill and Orval, wanted to visit a few Bourbon Distilleries located on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail; however, we found there were only a few located close to us with most being located closer to Louisville.  Due to time limitations, we decided to visit Town Branch Distillery & Brewer in historic Lexington, arriving late afternoon as they were beginning their last tour of the day.  The only way to get a tasting was to go on the tour and the guys decided they did not want to take the tour, so we just we walked around their gift shop, spending only a short amount of time.  They sell a Bourbon Trail Passport book, promoting visiting all the Distilleries on the Bourbon Trail receiving a stamp in your passport for each visited.  There are 10 primary Bourbon Trail destinations, listed online.

Sunday, Mother’s Day, we toured Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky, just a short drive from our campground.  They offered a 50 percent discount for Mothers on May 13.  Check their website as they offer special discounts on other occasions as well.  However, we were told that to receive the discount, you must purchase your tickets on site at their ticket counter, the discount will not be allowed if online purchases/reservations are made.  There was a line when we arrived shortly before the 12 noon opening on a Sunday and Mother’s Day.

MothersDay

This Ark is a replica of the Ark Noah built following God’s instructions all the way through the dimensions (3-decks) listed in the Bible.  Inside they have created it to resemble how it may have been when Noah brought all of his family and the animals inside, following God’s instructions in Genesis 6:13-22.  There are picture illustrations with details on how the food, water, and waste may have been handled with all the animals taken aboard the ark for the 40-days it rained/flooded the earth.  God instructed that Noah board two of every species (kind) of animals which was identified as land-dwelling animals, excluding fish (Genesis 7:15).  You may be interested in visiting the Creation Museum and Planetarium that is advertised in brochures and combo tickets offered when visiting the Ark, if so, it is important to know that the Creation Museum is approximately 45 minutes from the location of the Ark Encounter.  In addition, we spent an entire afternoon at the Ark Encounter, walking the approximately 3-miles inside the Ark, followed by having a fantastic “all-you-can-eat buffet” at Emzara’s Kitchen (just $10.49 Senior Rate).  We had visited the Bible Museum while in Washington DC and decided the Creation Museum was similar, so decided to not tour the Creation Museum due time limitations.

IMG_4542[4244]Nashville, Tennessee – Two Rivers Campground (3-night stay):  On Monday, May 14 took the Blue Grass Parkway heading towards our next stop in Nashville.  We passed the beautiful, renown Keeneland Horse track on this route.  Dean and Jeanette, full-timer RV’ers, who we met at Whispering Hills recommended visiting Keeneland, although we did not stop as we passed by.

Two Rivers is very close to the Grand Ole Opry, shopping and next door to Camping World, a convenient location while visiting Nashville.

Tuesday we walked around downtown (Broadway) area, stopping into a few shops and having lunch at Cerveza Jack’s (http://www.cervezajackstn.com/) with their special Taco Tuesday!  Lacey Caroline (https://laceycaroline.com/bio) was their live entertainment and she was good at singing a few of Miranda Lambert’s songs along with other familiar Country Music hits.

IMG_3584We purchased online tickets to the Tuesday night performance at the Grand Ole Opry online and the only seats showing available the night before (Monday) were balcony level.  We put the tickets on Will-Call since we did not have a printer to print them.  Deciding to pick up the tickets at Will-Call early afternoon of the day of the performance, turned out to be a good idea as we were able to upgrade to 4-seats on the floor to an almost sold out performance.

The Grand Ole Opry performance was very good, although we weren’t familiar with the performers, we did know a lot of the songs and the last performer LOCASH was one we recognized the most.

We toured the magnificent Gaylord Opryland Resort Hotel and wow is it awesome.  If you ever visit Nashville and not in your RV or just want a special night’s treat in this resort, you can’t go wrong!

West Memphis, Arkansas – Tom Sawyer’s RV Park (3-night stay):  Arrived at Tom Sawyer’s on Thursday, May 17.  Bryan, our 24-year old grandson, who lives in Brighton,

Tennessee, came to visit us at our campground.  He was expecting our visit and was able to make it out in time for us to grill steaks which he picked up for us on his way over.  It was so good to see him, as the last time we saw him was 6-years ago (2012) at his high school graduation.  Tiffany, his girlfriend of 3-year’s, was working Thursday evening, but we were able to meet her on Friday.  We met Tiffany and Bryan at Westy’s for lunch, located close to St. Jude’s Hospital where Tiffany works since her shift started at 1 pm on Friday too.

At our campground Friday evening, we just sat and watched the little tug boats pushing the enormous barges up and down the Mississippi River.  It was entertaining and amazing to see what appears to be a little boat pushing the very large, heavy barges.  The Mississippi clearly has a very strong current, the difference in speed watching tug boats going downstream versus upstream was significant.

Saturday night we walked around Beale Street in the downtown Memphis area, visiting the souvenir shops, watching the street entertainers, having dinner at Silky Sullivan’s.  Tiffany recommended Silky Sullivan’s and when we arrived for dinner, we realized that we had eaten at Silky Sullivan’s when in Memphis for Bryan’s graduation.  We were hoping to have live entertainment while we ate, however, we were too early, the entertainment did not begin until 9 pm.

Hot Springs, Arkansas – Lake Katherine State Park (2-night stay):  Arrived on Sunday, May 20. IMG_3727 Beautiful lake and marina, along with horse back trail rides, and golf at Diamond Back Golf course, not far from park entrance.   We enjoyed relaxing by the lake the first evening.  Monday morning we rented a pontoon boat from the park marina.  We were happy to hear that it was still off-season and the boat rental was $150 from 8 am – 4 pm.  After Memorial Day, they charge $150 for 1/2 day is 6-hour rental (7 am – 1 pm).  We toured the beautiful lake, Brenda and Orval took a dip in the lake, and since we decided to not fish (fishing license required and we hadn’t had much luck at fishing this entire trip); we did everything we wanted to do with the boat in less than 4-hours.

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Cardinal on my Bird Feeder that the squirrels knocked down and had the Canadian Geese all over our campground!

We hiked to see the waterfall with the trails running behind our campsite and all the hikers we observed going on the trails, it was a must to hike and see.  Well, it was a nice hike and we enjoyed the exercise, however, the fall wasn’t much of a fall at all.  There was a nice bridge we walked across and it was a shady, pleasant hike.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018 : Home from 50-day road trip, 14-States and 13 Campgrounds.  Left campground at Lake Catherine State Park at 10:30, drove 285 miles, dropping off the RV at storage, then arriving home by 4:15 pm.

A few of my favorite flower pictures along this trip:

Praises to God for the beautiful country He has created and thanksgiving His safety over our travels.  

 

 

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