Friday, September 23, 2016

Fall trip 2016 - Gettysburg Pa

Several years ago while on a fall trip we wanted to tour Gettysburg on our return leg from the Poconos.  We were unable to get reservations at any campground so we continued on home.  this year we planned our trip to include a stop over in Gettysburg on our way up to the Delaware Water Gap area of Pa..  We stayed at the Gettysburg KOA which is about 4 or 5 miles from the town of Gettysburg.
  On Tuesday we drove to the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & visitor center.

Above we are seated alongside a statue of Lincoln.

We bought the combo tickets which included the theater, cyclorama, museum and guided bus tour of the battlefields.  I wished that I had taken more pictures of the battlefields during the bus ride but I was so captivated with the whole experience as well as listening to every word of the guide as he took us thru the three day battle ( July 1, 2 & 3 1863) explaining the battle from both the Confederate and Union perspectives.

Day 1 -  Northwest of Gettysburg the two armies collide.  fighting continues throughout the day and the Union army is pushed back thru Gettysburg and finally regroup on Cemetery Hill.

Day 2 - the main strength of both armies has arrived on the field.  General Lee with the south and General Meade with the north.  General Lee launches attacks on the Union left and right, attempting to dislodge Meade's army.  federal reinforcements from the center eventually check the Confederate advances.

Day 3 -  The Confederate forces are assembled along Seminary ridge on the west and the Union forces along Cemetery ridge to the east.  Lee turns his main attention to the Union center.  following a two hour artillery bombardment, he sends some 12,000 Confederate infantry to try and break the lines on Cemetery ridge.  Despite a courageous effort, the attack called "Pickett's Charge" is repulsed with heavy losses.  After heavy losses Lee can no longer continue.  On July 4 he begins a withdraw to Virginia.

Statue depicting North Carolina  infantry.

field where Pickett's charge took place.  In the distance you can see the high ground of Little Round Top.

View from atop Little Round top.  The union troops had control of higher ground and was a contributing factor in beating the south at Gettysburg. 

another view from Little Round Top.

the complete experience took over 4 hours.  The film, "A New Birth of freedom", and Gettysburg Cyclorama is 45 minutes.  It took us over and hour to tour the museum.  the guided bus tour is two hours.  This historic site has to be on every ones' bucket list.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Fort Wilderness, Disney World, Fla Jan 2013

Diane's sister and her husband were planning a trip to Disney and we decided to join them.  We had always wanted to stay at the campground at Fort Wilderness so we made our reservations.  I was able to get some great discounted tickets at Victory Travel on Fort Jackson.  This year the 4 day tickets included the park hopper option.  We started our trip Sunday morning Jan 6 with a stop over that night at the campground on the Naval Sub Base, Kings Bay Ga.  About an hour from arriving at the base once again I got the low battery warning on the Even Brake system.  We pulled into a Pilot Travel Center and sure enough the battery on the CRV was dead again.  So I disconnected the system in the car, filled up the camper gas tank and we pulled to a parking spot and called AAA to give the car a jump.  Had to wait almost an hour for him to arrive but a quick jumpstart and the car was running.  I left the car running as we drove the rest of the way to the Eagles Nest campground at Kings Bay.  The next morning the car started OK.  We took off again and arrived at Fort Wilderness late in the afternoon.

Check-in at the campground was amazing.  We never left the camper.  A host came out of the office, took our info and a short while later came back with everything we needed.  We always travel with our two pets and had reserved a pet friendly site (they have separate campsite loops for pets).   Just past the checkin area there are pull thru areas where you can un hook your towed vehicles.  The campground is huge and actually they discourage driving around in your car.  Instead what they have are color coded buses running continuous.  A stop is located convienient to each camping loop and the bus will take you to the settlement where you can catch a boat ride over to the Disney World entrance or to the outpost (campground entrance) where you can get on buses that will take you to all the other parks and also to Disney Downtown.  Once we parked our car at the campsite we did not have to drive it anywhere the rest of the week.

This view of the castle from main street never grows old:

One of the reasons we wanted to visit again was because they opened up a new section of Fantasy Land.  We were kind of disapointed.  One of the rides was still under construction:

In the distance you can see the Beauty and the Beast castle.  This is just a new restaurant as far as we could tell and not an attraction to tour.  Not sure what the ride is going to be.

EPCOT is our favorite park, its more adult orientated.

Took a picture of ourselves with the camera timer:

View accross the lake

Our favorite ride at EPCOT is "Soaring".  If you haven't been to EPCOT and taken this ride you have to put it on your bucket list.

After a great week we departed Fort Wilderness on Sat Jan 12.  I didn't bother hooking up the supplemental brake system to the car.  After sitting all week the car started up just fine.  Got it hooked up to the camper and took off.  We planned to stop at the Savannah South KOA.  When we got there, I went to un hook the car and I'll be damned if it did not start, battery dead again.  This was really getting frustrating. The way the towing system is wired, the brake lights on the car work off the RV electrical system when towing so I couldn't see how that could affect the car battery.  Luckily the campground guy gave us a jump start.  Sunday morning the campground has a free pancake breakfast.  Hooked up the car and returned home Sunday afternoon.  Had no issue with the car starting when we got home.  Go figure.

Update on our RoadMaster Even Brake system

We had an issue with the system on our fall 2012 trip.  After we got back home I did some searching online and got some info and a number and contact to call at Roadmaster.  I called and asked to speak with Bennie.  He was suppose to be the expert on the system and he lived up to his reputation.  With his help I was able to draw a schematic of the system and the voltages to check for.  He stayed on the line with me as I used my volt meter to check voltages and as it turned out I found a broken wire in the 12v line to the transmitter in the car.  Repaired that and the system worked fine. If anyone has one of these systems and needs help here is the number to call:   1-800-669-9690 ext 157, and ask for Bennie.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Outer Banks NC Days 11 - 14

We left The Washington DC area on Friday Sept 14 and traveled to the Wiliamsburg VA KOA to spend the night.  While there we visited the Wialiamsburg Winery and did a wine testing.  They have some very good wines and we stocked up some.  We departed the next morning and drove to our next destination which was the Cape Hatteras KOA, near Rodanthe NC on the Outer Banks.  We had planned to stay here last fall on our Fall 2011 trip but Hurrican Irene spoiled those palns and unfortunatly destroyed most of the campground.  They have done a lot of rebuilding and we were glad that we could visit the area this year.

Here is a picture of the campground taken from the top of the dunes.

Our RV is in the center of the picture with our blue Honda CRV in front.

It was a very windy day when we arrived.  Here is a picture of Diane on the beach

On Sunday we took a ride down Hwy 12 and then took the free NC Ferry over to Ocracoke Island.

The northern end of Ocracoke Island in distance.  Thats  another ferry coming out of the inlet.

The town itself is all the way at the southern end of the island.  From here you can catch a toll ferry that will take you across Pamlico Sound the the NC mainland.

 Ocracoke Lighthouse

On our way back we stopped at Howard's Pub for lunch.  There is a small airstrip closeby and our son, who has flown in there with friends, said you can call the pub and they will come pick you up in a golf cart and bring you to the pub.  Great food.  One of the best cheeseburgers I've ever had.
We are in line to catch the ferry back across to Hatteras Island
The channel for the ferries to navigate in is very narrow.  We were told by one of the deck hands that the sound is very shallow.  You have to know your way around.  Not much distance between the red and green channel markers.
View of Hatteras as we approach on the ferry from Ocracoke Island

We stopped to visit the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Monday was a day to relax some.  We did some shopping.  Diane wanted an OBX sticker for her car and I got a T-shirt to commerate our Hwy 12 road trip.
We also visited the Rodanthe Fishing Pier.  Next time we visit we will bring our fishing tackle.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Washington DC - Days 8 - 10

Visiting Washington DC has been on our bucket list ever since we got the RV.  We finally made it this trip.  We stayed at Cherry Hill Park Campground.  This is one of the best campgrounds we have stayed at.  Its located in College Park Md.  You can catch a metro bus right from the front of the campground that will take you to a metro train station so you can ride the metro rail into DC.  We bought Smart Trip passes at the campground to use for riding the metro buses and trains.  This is the best way to pay for the rides since you need exact change to ride on the buses.  Its like using a debit card.  At the train station the have ATM type machines where you scan your pass and then using a credit card you add money to the passes.  Each time you use the card at the turnstiles a screen shows you what the balance is on the card.  When you run low just visit one of the machines and add more dollars.  So we took the bus to the metro station and then took the green line metro into DC and got off at the Archives/Navy Memorial station.  From here we walked about two blocks to the National Mall, around which you will find most of the museums to visit.  This is where I got my first look at the Washington Monument.  As with everything else in Washington DC, its almost breathtaking to see everything in person.

The first museum we toured was the Museum of Natural History

The first thing you see as you enter is this large elephant
Here is the Hope Diamond
There was so much to see, we just took the elevator to the top floor and then began walking thru the exhibits.  Way too much to take in, even in one day.  It was lunch time when we left here and we walked a short distance along the mall to the Museum of American History.  We ate lunch in one of the cafeterias there.  Almost all the museums have cafes and cafeterias in them which makes it nice.  We spent a few hours in the American History museum and then it was time to head back to the campground.  Our two pets, Ginger & Kellee travel with us on our RV trips so we had to keep them in mind whenever we left them.  About six or seven hours is about all we like to leave them in the RV.  Here is a good picture of the Capitol building from the mall.
 On Day 9 our plan was to visit the Air & Space Museum and the Lincoln Memorial

After touring the Air & Space Museum it was time for lunch.  We were told that there was a very good restaurant on an upper floor of the Library of Congress.  So we began a long walk toward the Capitol Building, the Library was on the block behind the capitol.  Here is a closer picture of the Capitol.
We are now walking uphill and were getting a little tired.  We finally made it to the Library of Congress.
As with all the buildings this was enormous and again breathtaking.  However, after getting thru security and asking for directions to the dining room we found out that we needed to be in the Library of Congress (Madison Building) which was across the street.  Oh well, we should have paid attention to the directions.  Anyway, we made it to the Madison Building and found the dining room and were very glad we did cause it was just about the best place to dine for lunch with reasonable costs.
Our next stop was the Lincoln Memorial but it is located on the other end of the national mall.  Not wanting to walk all the way back down the hill we got out the map of the metro rail system and realized there was a blue line stop nearby.  So we got on the metro and rode the blue line a few stops to the Smithsonian stop which is almost in the center of the national mall.  So we exited there and began a long walk toward the Lincoln Memorial.  On the way we walked around the Washington Memorial (which is now closed due to the earthquake damage)
As we walked around the monument we heard a helocopter and looked up and saw that it was the Presidents chopper.  Here is a picture of it landing at the White House.
Continuing on our way we walked past the WWII Memorial

 Getting closer to the Lincoln Memorial

Here is a view of the monument looking from the Lincoln Memorial
After all this we were beat.  It was time to take the long walk back, catch the metro and head back to the campground.
Our plan for day 10 was to visit Arlington National Cemetery.  James' Great Grandfather is buried there.  He was killed in action during WWI.  We wanted to find his grave and also see the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown soldier.  So we got on the green line metro and rode it to were we could connect with the blue line, then rode the blue line to the Arlington stop.
 Picture of me at the entrance.

President Kennedy's grave

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and changing of the Guard



After the ceremony we took off on foot to find the grave we were looking for.  As we walked I noticed this grave of a WWII Naval Officer awarded the Medal of Honor. 
We passed a section reserved for Nurses
After finding section 18 and after a short while we found the grave of James' Great Grandfather, who was killed in action in WWI.