Stopped in our tracks for awhile!

Friday, February 8, 2013 found the Traveling Basenjis on the road again.  We picked up the 5th wheel Thursday morning, parked in front of our home and proceeded to load supplies and accessories for a trip to Kerrville and then on to Big Bend National Park.  But Monday morning, February 11 found us in Terrell ordering a new F-350 and wondering how much damage the RV had suffered!  Monday afternoon found the Pack Leader at the doctor’s complaining of a sore neck, back, sprained wrist and right ankle.  So much for travel plans!

Leaving home on Friday we had headed west through Dallas, Irving and Grand Prairie.  We made it to Arlington on I-20.  Then a twenty four year old lady driving a Saturn Ion also traveling west in 5 lanes (4 traffic and 1 exit) lost control, spun out and came back into our lane where she was smashed by the left front of what is a now a totaled F-250.  The Saturn’s rear window shattered on impact and when everything came to a stop, broken glass lay approximately 8-10 feet behind the 5th wheel.  Our rig is 57 feet nose to tail meaning we traveled another 60 -70 feet after impact.  Wow!

Miracle of miracles – not one cut or contusion and everyone walked out.  The Pack Leader toughed it out for a couple of days and then relented with a trip to the doctor for checkup.

RV Damage Report – The 5th wheel suffered from the sudden impact/stop causing the AC units to shift on the roof requiring a new roof and apparently flying debris inside broke the kitchen faucet.  The couch slid forward about 18-20 inches stopping after it pinned a chair to the dining table.  By the way that is one heavy couch/fold out queen size bed!  Thank goodness we had the foresight to get the rig thoroughly inspected.  Holiday World did a complete inspection verifying there was no damage to the pin box or that the water tanks/plumbing had moved or shifted.  Total cost $9,500.

F-250 Damage Report – The Arlington Police and Fire did a wonderful job of accident scene control.  Before we could notify 911, a police officer who was working traffic nearby arrived and established immediate control of traffic.  Shortly the FD blocked the site with fire engines and began assuring there were no serious injuries or injury needing immediate attention.  Then the Saturn was removed from our front bumper and hauled off on a flat bed wrecker – it was not going to drive again that day – if ever.  After the FD cut away part of the bumper we were able to drive to the roadside where a HUGE wrecker picked us up, truck & RV all in one haul.  We had to look like a parade as long as we were!  (over 90 feet long) We dropped the RV at Holiday World and then home where we left the fur kids, picked up our car and followed the wrecker to Service King.  Damage that appeared to be cosmetic in the beginning quickly became very ugly.  Before we could gather our personal items from the truck, two of Service King’s managers noticed that the frame had buckled sufficient for the leading edge of the bed to crease the back of the cab!  BENT FRAME – Estimates kept increasing, $15,000, $19,000 and later almost $25,000.  Finally USAA agreed to total the truck “the estimates for repair just keep growing” and we think they made the right decision.  We ordered a new truck right after the accident knowing that we did not want to depend on the old one.  It could be sold, traded or totalled but we would never be comfortable towing the RV with it again.  The new truck is expected to debut around March 22, 2013.

We were extremely fortunate that this was not a fatal accident.  We were traveling between 60 & 65 miles per hour and when the accident became apparent we began decelerating.  The truck braking system worked flawlessly.  Bless Henry Ford’s engineers we stayed in our lane, no jack knife or turn over – amazing.

Once the new truck arrives and is checked out, the Traveling Basenjis will resume their journeys!  Stay tuned!

San Diego area sans Basenjis

We do occassionly travel without the fur kids and this trip was one of them.  Had a week of time share we had banked and needed to use before Feb 2013 so we chose to return to the Escondido area and stay at the Welk Resort. We had been here 2 years ago and enjoyed the peace and quiet.  We flew into San Diego and drove up about 35 miles north. This resort was founded by Lawrence Welk (of music fame) in the early 70s and is a huge place with golf course, restaurant, theater, spa and many condos of all sizes.  We chose to stay in their Mountain Villas this time and had a good view over the whole area from our balcony. Some of our family from Los Angeles came down and spent 3 days with us visiting and sightseeing. We all arrived on Sunday and then we spent Monday driving up into the mountains to visit Julian, CA.  This is a small (pop. 1502) historic town used for mining in the late 1800s and still has some neat vibes.  Some of the original settlers discovered the area was good for farming as well so on the way up we passed some huge orchards and nurseries scattered with vineyards.  It had snowed a little the night before so there was a dusting on the trees above us.  We stopped in at Mom’s Pies for a piece of her famous apple pie and coffee before going on into Julian.  Once there we found out it was cold!!!  We were about 4,226 ft elevation and had a slight breeze.  We spent most our time looking for a warm place instead of staying outside much.

The old hotel is still active with rooms filled with antiques. It is on the main street across from the hardware store.



They had a great hardware store selling antiques as well as new items and Pendleton blankets and clothing. It was very clean and well organized which always shows pride of ownership.

Antique washer for sale in Julian

This area was affected by some of the wildfires a few years ago which nearly made it into town. But is a mixed use area now with houses, sheds, trailers and a few small farms.  Drove back into the resort by dinner and had a good visit before bedtime.   Next day we spent with the family before they returned to LA. Then we enjoyed the rest of the week resting and reading and had an occasional cocktail like big people do when they don’t have fur kids.  Went to the spa for a massage the day before we headed back to Texas. Ahhh!

Last stop before Texas

We spent the night again at Walmart east of Memphis and then resumed our trip through Arkansas on I-40.  We stopped for a good mid day meal at Nick’s on Hwy 13 in Carlisle, AR.  It was started in 1972 so they have a good history with locals. They serve BBQ and good fried catfish, another delight we had been missing.  So once we had our lunch we drove on past all the cotton fields into Little Rock.  Destination for the last night was another good Corps of Engineer park at Maumelle Campground on the Arkansas River in northwest Little Rock off State Hwy 10. A nice back-in spot with paved parking where we could unwind and let the girls enjoy the trees and squirrels. Another good trip coming to an end and weather is improving for fall.  We plan to be in Tyler, TX by tomorrow afternoon to visit some of our family then home by October 18.

Viva Mexican Food!

On Monday, Oct 15 we left Cove Creek and drove into Knoxville to Ted Russell Ford where we unhooked then drove the truck into service where they changed the oil etc.  While waiting we discovered that there was an Abuelo’s nearby so we prevailed upon their service driver who dropped us off for a fix of good Mexican food.  We enjoyed the first good Mexican meal we’d had since leaving home 4 months earlier.  Funny how things happen!

Upon our return we had time to check out the display of restored Fords on display inside the lobby at the dealership.  This was really nice white T-Bird.  Also had a newer GT.  A great experience in Knoxville!  Then we hit the road to drive through Nashville and Memphis on I-40.

Heading into Moonshine Country

Friday Oct 12 we drove south through Bristol, TN into the area made famous by moonshiners.  This is the part of the country where fast cars hauling moonshine were used to escape revenuers in the late 1940s and early ’50s and generally credited with inspiring the start of stock car racing.  A great mix of racing and country music blended with gospel and bluegrass makes this another place to spend more time. Our destination was Cove Creek Campground in Wears Valley just south of Pigeon Forge.  Only BIG mistake was following Norman Garmin again as he took us down through Gatinlinburg and into some of the worst traffic we have seen the whole trip.  Six lanes wide in 2 directions moving at a snail’s pace. People coming from all over the world apparently to visit this area and see the shows at Dollywood and museums and hotels and casinos.  We vowed to never come this route with an RV again.  After traveling about 30 miles for nearly 2 hours we finally arrived at Cove Creek with a good view of Smoky Mountain Natl Park.   Their lobby is super and all the spaces have gravel and concrete parking with firepits and picnic tables. We were lucky and had super neighbors pull up in a big motorhome.  Seems as if they live up in Marysville, TN and have kids who do Junior Racing but were enjoying a quiet weekend without kids.  Enjoyed their visits and shared a few meals. While there we received another messsage from the truck saying “Change my oil now.”  So we extended our stay and will drive into Knoxville on Monday for that chore.

Southbound from PA

Thursday, Oct 11 we drove south on I-81 heading through the beautiful Shenandoah Valley.  This will be a place to return to on a future trip as there are many Civil War sites to visit and beautiful parks to see.  As we headed into Virginia we noted many people driving with their Hokie signs and found out that the mascot for Virginia Tech is a Hokie.  Colors are maroon and orange and represented by a turkey.  Lots of team spirit here especially after the sad campus massacre there in 2007 when 32 people were killed by one gunman. We planned to stay near Natural Bridge, VA but when we traveled off road to one RV park nearby found out we could not level our unit at all in any of their larger spots and since it is the end of the season for them they did not care.  So we pulled out and headed on.  As we drove on the route with Norman Garmin we were waved down by a man who warned us that this way contained a low overpass and we would have to back out about 3 miles.  Thank Heavens for good neighbors, we were able to back about 100 ft into and area and turn around then returned to 81 south and drove down to Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park and had a great site parked on a level grassy area about 6 miles from Natural Bridge. Got there in time to set up, have a good dinner, wash off our awning, walk the dogs and rest up. And nice people!

Boondocking at Walmart near Scranton

Wednesday evening 10/10/12 we finally gave up trying to find a campground and were tired so we drove on into Walmart at Dickson City in the northern part of Scranton, PA.  Now this Walmart may have the most unique location we have ever seen.  It is on top of a hill overlooking a huge valley,  We pulled in after checking that it was OK and found our place in the side parking lot.  Went inside and bought ice and some chicken wings for dinner.  It was getting colder and we were tired.  That is when we noted a problem with our on-board water pump.  Since we were self contained for this stay it was important but everytime we turned off the faucet the pump would not stop so had to turn it off.  So we went to bed to get warm and listened to the bozo next to us in a big motorhome who kept running his generator and/or engine.  Next morning we were up and out of there heading south ASAP.  Cold wind blowing told us “Time to go Home”. No pictures here as it was dark when we arrived and pretty gloomy when we left.