Thursday, April 21, 2011

Kentucky Horse Park

We love the Kentucky Horse Park – even off-season, there’s so much to see!  The sites are great, with paved roads and lots of green grass, and we were backed up to the Horse Park, so the views are great.  From the campground, you can walk or ride bikes right into the park, so we did plenty of both!


This big guy was willing to come over to the fence for some hay!

We rode our bikes into the main area of the park and found a group of horses near the Champions Barn that were willing to visit with us.


Bryce isn’t sure if he wants to get too close!


Looks like Nicolas is having quite a conversation with this guy!


Striking a pose!  Looks like he does that a lot!

It’s been a few years since the last time we camped here, and they have really expanded the park.  Much of the expansion had to do with the World Equestrian Games that were held here last summer.


This fancy new arena is one of the facilities that weren’t here the last time we visited.

There are so many areas to explore in this park, and we took Casey for a walk on the grounds, too.  Nicolas decided to put her through some agility testing while we walked.


Climbing the steps, and jumping off the other side.


Queen of the mountain!


Up the ramp, and off the other end!

Back at the campground, we got our fire going, and enjoyed toasted marshmallows and apple pies.


Tom had to get some work done, but then he joined us at the fire.

It was such a beautiful day and evening, we couldn’t believe that there were going to be storms overnight!  If it weren’t for the emergency weather radio, I probably would have just gone to bed and slept right through the storms.  But, around midnight the weather radio started announcing severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings!  I turned on the TV, and found a Louisville station that was tracking the storms.  Louisville was getting hit pretty hard, but it was looking like everything was going to go north of us.  Regardless, I couldn’t go to sleep, so I kept the TV on and logged onto to watch the radar maps.  Amazingly, the RV hardly moves at all – and it was windy! – and I had just about decided to go to sleep when, around 1:30am, the weather radio announced a tornado warning for our immediate area!  I woke Tom and the boys up, and we jumped in the truck and went to the bath house, along with most of the other campers!  Apparently, there was a tornado siren that went off too, but we didn’t hear it.  We stayed in the bath house until the warnings expired at 2:30am, and luckily the worst of the weather missed us, and there was no damage in the Horse Park.  I did hear on TV the next morning that there were several tornadoes that touched down just north of us, though.

So, we survived our first severe weather experience unscathed . . . in this case we would have been OK without the weather radio, but I sure am glad we had it!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Last Day in Pigeon Forge

Monday was another beautiful day in Pigeon Forge, TN.  We had sunny skies and temps in the 60s.  After getting some work and school done in the morning, we took a drive into town to see what was going on.  The crowds had mostly left, and it was amazingly easy to drive from one end of town to the other!

The boys were anxious to drive go-carts, so we decided on “The Track”.

We bought a package deal, and Nicolas and Bryce made a beeline for Wild Woody!


After one race (when Nicolas had a dud of a car!), they decided that they needed more competition and convinced Tom to join them – not that they needed to twist his arm much!

042011_RV-Dreams Rally3

The boys sure love their go-carts!!

After depleting all their tickets, we took a drive through Gatlinburg, but didn’t really see anything worth stopping for, so we headed back to the campground.  We were leaving in the morning, and there was a pretty good chance of rain overnight, so we packed up the bikes, chairs and grill.  Tom and I got some work done in the evening, and again on Tuesday morning before we finished packing up before the 11:00 am check-out time.  Of course, the weathermen were wrong, and we didn’t get any rain overnight or Tuesday – in fact, it was a beautiful day with sunny skies and temps in the 80s! 

With the possibility of severe storms on Tuesday night, we decided to play it safe and go to a location we were familiar with, and that we knew had paved roads and grassy sites (no mud!).  So, we headed north on I-75, and after an easy 3-hour drive we arrived at the Kentucky Horse Park just north of Lexington.  We paid $52.60 for 2 nights (with AAA discount), plus $9.95 for internet, and $5.75 for a bundle of firewood, and we settled into our site.


Site number 169 is on the outer loop, backed up to the horse park.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

RV-Dreams Rally comes to an end

Saturday was the last full day of Rally activities, with seminars on finding campgrounds, packing the RV for full-timing, and traveling to Alaska.  Lots of great information!  In the afternoon, we had “Rig Open House”, and we had lots of visitors to see Nicolas’ “Man Cave”!  We checked out a few rigs ourselves, and spent some time visiting with Denny & Char in their Excel 5th Wheel.  We had met them in Branson in 2008, but really had the time to talk and get to know them more at this Rally.  I think, in general, this Rally for us was more about “socializing” and less about “learning” – we know we’re ready to hit the road – we just have to sell the darn house!

Dinner on Saturday was a rib & chicken BBQ put on by the catering service – YUM!


Nick & Bryce certainly enjoyed the ribs!

We sure have eaten well this week!  After dinner, it was time for the 70s Party.  There was lots of old music, party games, and plenty of folks got into the spirit with tye-dyed shirts, beads, and whatever else they could come up with!

Seventies Party

The party-goers are definitely enjoying themselves!

I think Howard surprised everyone with his costume – especially his parents!  Linda just looked like she belonged in the 70s!


Stirling is thinking, “Is that really my son under there!?!”

Jenny and Don gave Howard a run for the money with their costumes – or maybe Don and Howard planned this . . .


Don and Jenny look the part of the 70s hippies!

On Sunday morning the Rally officially ended with a catered breakfast, and everybody said their goodbyes to those leaving right away. 


Howard and Linda end the Rally on a traditional note – “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts, and hardly a dry eye in the place!

Don and Lois were one of the ones leaving right away, so we said goodbye before we headed into Pigeon Forge for 10:30 mass.


Tom and Don enjoy teasing each other – we can’t wait to see them again – hopefully on the road!


Lois and the boys pose for a goodbye picture.

After mass and grocery shopping (we have to go back to cooking our own meals this week!), Nicolas & I did laundry while Tom & Bryce put up the new ceiling fan in our living room.  Sunday evening, Linda & Howard hosted a post-rally campfire for all the RV-Dreamers still in the campground – and there were about 40 of us there!!  Of course, there was no shortage of food – cookies, brownies, popcorn and s’mores!

It was a wonderful ending to a great week!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Friday Free Day

We had a day off from seminars, but there was no shortage of things going on around here.  Some folks went golfing, some went on a zip-line adventure, others went into the National Park, and we went into Pigeon Forge for the “Spring Rod Run”.

Pigeon Forge_Rod Run_2011

Thousands of classic hot rods lined both sides of the main drag through Pigeon Forge when they weren’t cruising up and down the strip!


It was really something to see, and the boys all enjoyed looking at the old cars, especially Nicolas, who thinks he is “shopping”!


The “car guys” checking out a cool ride!



Hey Nicolas – maybe this one will work for you – a fixer-upper! LOL


We didn’t just see cars, though – we saw motorcycles, too,


Tom thinks he’d look pretty good on this sweet ride!


and even campers!


This matching car & trailer were really cute!



The vintage Coca-Cola trailer was really adorable!


Pigeon Forge was really bustling, with thousands of people either walking, or driving, or just sitting along the sidewalks watching the cars cruise by.  After walking pretty much the entire length of Pigeon Forge, and back again, we enjoyed energizing milkshakes at the Happy Days Diner before heading back to the truck!


Hmmm . . . what flavor of shake should I get??

On the way out of town, we stumbled on the gathering of the “Yellow Mustang Club” (I guess there’s a club for everything!),


How did that silver one get in there??!!  It’s a beauty!

so we walked around a bit before heading back to the RV Park for a nap!

We needed that afternoon nap to rest up for the evening activity (so much for a “free day”!).  One of the local theaters, the Majestic Theater, offered to put on a private performance for the RV-Dreams Family for a REALLY great price, and approximately 100 of us were taking advantage of the offer.

After a delicious dinner (salad & pizza) at the Mellow Mushroom,


Complete with dancing mushroom!

we joined the rest of the group at the theater.  The show was a selection of songs representing four decades.



Favorites from the Fifties!


Psychedelic songs from the sixties!


Groovy sounds of the Seventies . . . including the Blues Brothers! 


And then there are the Eighties!


Some old-time rock & roll!


Some “Urban Cowboy” country!


and, of course, the Village People!

As is typical with the shows down here, they also included a tribute to the military, and it was phenomenal!


All branches of the Military were included in this amazing tribute!

The performers were all very talented, and the entire show was great!  Everybody who went really enjoyed it – even Nick & Bryce!


Of course, it was difficult to keep Linda and Papaw in their seats!

It was worth much more than the nominal fee they charged us!  WHEW – I’m glad we had this “free” day to rest up – I think we might need another one!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Rally Activities & Around the Campground

It’s been a busy week here at the RV-Dreams Rally – with seminars during the day and dinners and activities in the evening.  Even Nick & Bryce have been getting involved – Nicolas was a key member of his team in both the icebreaker activity on Tuesday,

fun and games

Nicolas was the quickest at flipping those teabags onto the bill of the cap – 3 seconds!

and during Thursday night’s “RV Family Feud”.


Nicolas thinks Michigan is a good state to RV in, but too bad the surveyed RVers didn’t!

Bryce was Linda’s helper, running prizes to each of the winners during the door prize drawing.

Lindas helper

. . . and Bryce didn’t even pull any of our names!

When we weren’t busy attending seminars and eating, we tried to get in some walking in this beautiful Tennessee weather.

along the river

The Little Pigeon River runs behind the campground, and is a great place for walking.

another flowering tree

We think these were some type of flowering crabapple tree – really pretty!

dogwood in bloom

Even the dogwoods are in bloom – beautiful!

Yesterday, one of the RV dealers from Knoxville brought over a couple of 2011 5th Wheels – a Heartland “Landmark”, and a Doubletree “Mobile Suites”.  We checked them out, and they are nice . . . but we’re definitely NOT in the market for a new RV!

2011 Mobile Suites

Tom’s checking out the control panel for all the facilities.

There are several RVs in the campground that are here for a car show/cruise in Pigeon Forge this weekend, including this guy.

hot rod (2)

A beautiful day for a car show!

We checked it out on our Friday “Free Day”, but that will have to be another post!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Arriving at the RV Dreams Rally

We had a lot of prep work to get done before we left for the RV Dreams Rally in Tennessee, and even with a few unexpected complications, we were done and ready to hit the road!


Tom and Nicolas putting the landing gear leg back together (winter coats – still cold on Friday!!)

It was a cool and foggy Michigan morning when we pulled out of the driveway, but the weather kept getting better as we drove south!

foggy morning

In Michigan, the grass is just barely starting to turn a little bit green, and the trees are still bare!

In Ohio, the grass was green and lush, and the diesel prices dropped from $4.10 to $3.89 /gallon.  By noon, the temperature was well into the 70s, and we were shedding our sweatshirts!

diesel in Ohio

Diesel prices weren’t too bad at the Piqua, OH Walmart

Walmart Gas (2)

Getting into a gas station with the RV attached is always fun!

After a quick fill-up and lunch at the Subway in Walmart (another convenient benefit!), we were back on the road!  It was a beautiful day to travel (even with temperatures approaching 90 degrees!), and as we continued south we saw even more signs of spring – trees budding in northern KY, and eventually even fully blossomed flowering trees in Tennessee.  We had thought we might spend the might in mid-Kentucky, but were making good time, so decided to keep moving.  We eventually got hungry again, and decided to stop for the night at a Walmart shortly after crossing into Tennessee.  We had a quick dinner at McDonald’s (the only thing open within walking distance!), used their free Wi-Fi to check email, and were back in the RV to watch Amazing Race and Celebrity Apprentice (luckily we were able to pull in CBS and NBC with the antenna).


It was a noisy place to spend the night, but the views of the mountains in the distance were great!

We were left with an easy 1-hour drive in the morning, and arrived at he River Plantation RV Park at 10:30 am. 


Comfortably settled into site #200

We quickly set up, and walked over to the pavilion to check on the Rally preparations.  Linda and Howard have everything under control, and it should be a really great experience!  Everything get started tomorrow afternoon, and we’re looking forward to it . . .