United States of America · 9 Days · 33 Moments · April 2018

29 April 2018

Home again. It’s hard to believe but Toulouse actually missed me!

28 April 2018

While we were talking to Titi Aris she mentioned that she was wondering how she was going to get a sewing machine to her niece Aris who just moved to NJ. As she was talking, I realized that we were going to drive right by her new house. Aris was in Puerto Rico but we were able to visit with her husband Matteo. He showed us their new home and shared all his plans for improvement. It is a beautiful home.

27 April 2018

As we were leaving Arlene got into a little trouble and was sent to the stockade to cool her heels. Jon started to leave her there but after a few minutes of hard thought successfully released her. Having learned her lesson we left the past and returned to the present.
We stopped into visit the Governer’s Palace which had the same impressive lawn as the various estates we had toured. One thing that was different was the display of weaponry, which today is the largest collection of period weapons in the world and in its time was actively used to arm the militia. This was before the revolution so they were used primarily to protect and defend the colony.
We went to a show about Virginia's declaring independence before the other colonies. Arlene volunteered for a seat at the committee table. It was interesting because the issue of what to do with the colony's slaves, women and free black men was discussed. Williamsburg also had period taverns where we were given some of the history and music while enjoying southern cooking.
We wandered through the art museum, the public hospital, and various shops such as the weaver, tailor, binder, silversmith, and goldsmith
After a very easy entry into an RV park in Williamsburg we found our way to Colonial Williamsburg. It is very similiar to old Salem but is much larger. They also have reenactments or small plays throughout the day. They explained for example that there were actors who are called historical interpreters that you can interact with to learn more about the daily life in Colonial Williamsburg. Later in the day Jon heard a man sheepishly say "I was looking for work a couple of months ago and the sign said 'interpreter' and I said 'i don't speak spanish so didn't apply'. We began our journey into the passed by crossing a bridge with bronze plaques that identified moments in history until we reached the 1770’s.

26 April 2018

We visited Titi Aris and Tío Jose A. They welcomed us with love, food and many interesting stories. Lucky for Tío is also very handy and was able to help us fix our driver’s side mirror. It was very hard to leave. We were completely spoiled.

25 April 2018

We were welcomed to Old Salem with the aroma of freshly baked bread. The terrible part was that they could not share it with us. Jon tried his hand at some carpentry.
And so we went to Biltmore Estate. This was built by a collaboration between George Vanderbilt, Olmsted and their architect. In the gardens in the back you can see Arlene pointing at an imported guineo tree from Puerto Rico. Sometimes you travel so far, just to come home.

24 April 2018

This is called the blind men and the elephant. Part of the estate
Evidence. Arlene holding a glass of wine! Jon was shocked but as soon as we left she said, nope still don’t see the point...but Jon bought a bottle to celebrate the occasion anyway....
Arlene in the central conservatory.
After Cade’s cove it was time tp make our way to North Carolina. Jon wanted to go straight through the mountains but Arlene wanted to take the safer way that didn’t involve going along windy roads through treacherous roads in the rain. So we looked at the map and chose Highway 32 which was (wait for it) a treacherous road through the mountains in rain but it has a couple of benefits.... first it was steep second it said ‘pavement ends’ so it was mud too. It was a bit more active driving and understanding the word ‘crevasse’ than we would have liked. We quickly learned that the definition of highway in Tennessee means 'extremely curvy road that doesn't necessarily include pavement or guardrails"
We left The Biltmore estate and drove a few hours to arrive at our first RV campground in Mocksville NC, we realized we could not get in. It was 11 pm and the road was closed, we drove around to the other side and that was closed too! So we drove back an hour to pull-up in Titi Aris’ house, hoping the neighbors would not call the cops. We found out later they just took pictures and sent them to Tio Jose A. The next morning we drove back to see Old Salem.
Cades Cove. An 11 mile loop that provides access to cabins building the 1800’s. Dogwoods are in full bloom and you can see the Great Smoky Mountains from each of the cabins.

23 April 2018

Tuckaleechee Caverns
Dolly’s Stampede Dinner Show.
Great Smoky Mountains
Not a bad parking job for 2am in the rain. Luckily we had two huge trees to guide us and failure to follow the guides would result in major damage. We learned quickly that we have to polish our RV traffic control signals.

22 April 2018

Visiting Monticello. We got to visit the second and third floors. They are in the process of preparing Sally’s living quarters for touring.
Monticello. Photo op with Mr Jefferson.
Fried pickles!
Carter mountain and Orchard. With a view of Charlottesville, VA
Visiting Joe and Carmen in Virginia. Beautiful home, beautiful people.

21 April 2018

Our first meal in the RV.
“How DARE you!” Were the first words we heard as we were exiting our RV in a parking lot at Walmart in Maryland. A woman drives up to us in her minivan and completes her sentence, “How dare you live my dream!” Our first thought was, wow it didn’t long for us to screw up! With great relief we told her about all 60 minutes of our adventure so far. She was tickled pink. Jon mentioned that this was my 50th birthday present. She stared at me silently for a while and the back door of the minivan slowly slides open. The woman in the back slips her sunglasses down her nose and says “Can’t be!” They wished us happy travels and drove off.
Just crossed the Delaware Memorial Twin Bridge from New Jersey into Delaware.
Our home away from home
Having breakfast in NJ with my favorite Rutgers boys.

20 April 2018

On the way ! Arlene takes the first shift. We are going to our first sight seeing place , ‘the Vince Lombardi truck stop in New Jersey !!!
All packed and ready to go!