This time of year if always tough. More so if you are away from family. It has been five months full time for us this month. Wow, time is flying. We have plans with other full time campers to have a smoked turkey and junk food for Christmas. I will need to start that diet next year it seems. I know that I am soooo behind on my blogs, but I could not go any further without being very grateful for my family, friends and for everyone that travels. I want to wish each and everyone of you a very Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and safe travels. All our love, support and a huge hug!!! Don & Char
One of my favorite B movies is The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. This is what Jones RV park is all about. No…. not post civil war gunmen killing each other over a treasure. This is about our experience and to give you an insight into “OUR” feelings.
In our last episode we saw that Charlene was a little under the weather, okay sick as a dog, on our trip down. Needless to say, we were running a little behind (no pun intended…lol) and Charlene gave the park a courtesy call to check into after-hours check-ins, especially since it’s getting late in the day on a Friday. The young man on the phone was polite enough and told us no problem… just pull in, go to the left, and take any available space. We get off I-85 make a quick right on Willowtrail Parkway and see the entrance. We get the immediate feeling that this might not be our first choice in the future. Left at the first street where the sani-dumps are located and find a pull through, space 102, that gives us an easy in and out. I failed to mention that the dump station is also numbered spots and both were filled with travelers, hmmmm. Stopping in the space, pretty darn level too, we decide not to unhook yet. It’s been a long drive. Level us out and get Alice up and running. 50 amp service, check; water, check; sewer, check. All good so far. I put down our trusty rug, and you want to here. No real rain for almost 2 months and dust is the word. I see grass… well, maybe that’s grass. Oh, there it is, by the water boxes. Let’s get that picnic table adjusted and ready. Hey somebody took the picnic table?!? Oops, my bad, there are no picnic tables. We could go down the road further and keep looking however the speed bumps look tall enough for Alice to bottom out, so here we stay.
I’m chatting with some people outside with their kids when all of a sudden Charlene let’s out this blood curdling scream… A small furry creature that looks like a racoon in the twilight is coming in the trailer right between her feet. I know this is wrong, but I almost feel out laughing. The small furry creature is a mature kitty named “Ms. Jones”. I’m not sure if the park is named after her or not but she is way friendly and owns the place. I think she was just checking out the newbie. A couple hours later plus or minus, 9-930pm there is a knock on the door. Char, looking like death’s best friend, opens the door. “You are in our space” is the greeting from the woman standing at the door. Charlene is in no mood for this. She was given directions over the phone, she feels like $&!#, it’s late, and the park office won’t reopen till Monday morning. Charlene, I have to say politely although she may have coughed on her accidently on purpose, explained all this to her, there are many other spots open, and the ladies husband even wants nothing of this (I can hear him trying to tell his wife everything is good and they are already in a space with the slides out). Charlene even called their emergency number and received the same story… Take any space open so we did it by the book. We go back inside and begin to laugh again about the scream and the “racoon”. I’m laughing again thinking about the scene.
Now the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
The Good – Easy access from I-85, 50 Amp Service, Water and Sewer and pretty darn level. Close to where we needed to be and Ms. Jones was a highlight.
The Bad – Dirty, Run Down, Transients (people not at park) use the showers and bath, Laundry was in very poor condition (washers had grease, ink, and even toothpick/metal sticking out of holes in drum). This is not just RVs and many are in various stages of disrepair/not road worthy by any estimation. Trash overflows everywhere and people just add to it (my picture was a good day). Speed humps that would bottom out an Airstream and they are scraped up to show it.
The Ugly – Spot 101 didn’t have sewer hookup so the <insert favorite expletive here> so they dropped their tank on the ground and let it run under our rug and Alice then they boogied out late at night so no one would notice. We did and let management know. They did nothing to assist us…. Period. We of course disposed of the rug, I couldn’t be like others in the park and just left it behind. Maybe the fact they allow campers to use the dump station as spots has something to do with it… yes people were parked with slides out at the dump station.
Kin folk said Jeb move away from there… it was time to load up the car and head to Kenmare, Bay that is, great friends, great scenery. So after a great, but too short, time in Dublin we packed our bags, jumped on M50 and M7, and headed south to Charlene’s friend Katherine (Kate)’s place just outside of Kenmare. A motor way is a motor way; however, it only takes you so far. Then the real “driving experience” begins. Roads were built in the US for the car; In Ireland they were built for the horse and just paved over when cars arrived. Experience is really a word for… wrong side of road, no shoulder, HUGE trucks and busses coming the other way and wondering why you said yes to a $3000 deductible on the rental.
We get to Kenmare and call Kate for the final directions. Turn left where the green pole with the yellow hiker symbol is. Really? That’s the directions? Okay…. Left it is. We head up hill and up hill and up hill on a road that was even narrower than any we had been on so far. A bunch of S’s, backing down the hill to find a wide spot so a car can pass, and another left and we are almost there. We see Kate standing in the road, cell phone in hand and Charlene starts jumping up and down in the seat like a 10-year-old that just saw the entrance to Disney. We pull in the drive and see Kates cottage. Okay cottage may not be descriptive enough so here is couple pictures of her little place.
After picking our jaws up off the ground we settle into our bedroom in west wing then head to the kitchen for a quick nosh and see her view. Only one word describes this…. WOW. What would it be like to wake up every morning and see this. Wait!!!! We will have many of these views as we travel full time in our Airstream so this is just the first of many.
The food is great, the drink is great, the people are great, the friendship is ever greater. Kate and her Husband Sean take a day to show us the Cork County coastline. Ireland is such a beautiful place. The weather was the best we could have asked for. Slow down Don…. Rewind the tape…. I have to say Sean is a real trooper. This tour started with picking him up at Shannon Airport where he arrives after a 13-hour flight from Jakarta. Sean was entertaining and stayed awake and pleasant the entire day. I would have been grumpy and fallen asleep early on. Back to the story. Along the way they take us to a Light House. We stop to see the sights and all of a sudden two farm dogs, one black and one yellow, obviously well cared for join us for our walk. I could not have ordered a more perfect moment. I hope you enjoy these scenes as much as we did.
The next day we decide to head out on our own and drive the “Ring of Kerry”; a scenic road trip that starts at Kenmare Bay and goes a hundred or so miles around the peninsula. There are many artisans, we have been told, along the way. If you see a sign, just follow the road and pop in. We decide to do just that and make a right up a drive marked “wood working for sale” and pull up to a small house and workshop. Out steps a woman in her 60s who greats us warmly. She asks us about “us” with genuine interest and tells us that with her first husband they lived in a 34’ caravan (trailer) for 20 years driving around New Zealand. Small world. Her and her late 2nd husband came to Ireland to do woodworking, okay maybe art would be a better word for what they did, and make Irish Pipes aka Uilleann pipes. She even invited us into her beautiful home for a tour. The interior was all done by these craftsmen/artists and was breathtaking, sorry no pictures… I didn’t even think to snap any photos I was enjoying her company so much. On display in the living room was her pride and joy, a set of pipes. These weren’t just any pipes… they were hand hewned out of ebony, ivory, and silver by her husband. He did his own silver smithing…. everything. These were a work of love and took him over four (4) months to complete. They were not just an instrument; I think they were her husband personified. There was so much to see, so many people we spoke with and even a life size statue of Charley Chaplin who lived there. Here are a few pictures.
Our time was drawing to a close and it was time to head back to Dublin, the airport and home… My next blog will tell you about that experience…. LOL.
Hello night owls! This is our very last night in our home and I cannot seem to sleep. I thought that I would be more emotional about it, but I think that I am just too tired to even think about it. We have had a very taxing week. Between packing, sorting, consigning, donating, moving the Airstream……yeah I am beat. The estate sale starts tomorrow and we have to be out of here by 7:30 am sharp. Yet, here I am typing at 3:00 am in this blog. Lord, save me from myself. I need all the prayer I can get sometimes. I never really understood what the term the devil is in the details meant, until this past week. Anything that could of gone wrong did. My anxiety was through the roof and I wanted to murder someone, anyone. Yet, here we are on our last night. Sometimes you just have to give it to God and let it roll……see you on the road in the morning!
Today is bitter sweet. I am the third generation living in our family home that we just rented to a lovely young family. I have been packing up all the pictures, artwork, photos, etc. Some I will miss and some I cried packing up. Especially the ones of my grandmother. This was her home and my dad grew up here. Heck, I grew up here and then moved back a few years ago. While I was typing this I was crying and eating my fifth taco (a beer might be next). I needed the break from packing, but I needed to reflect a bit. I am going to miss this old home…..the people….this small town…….my neighbors and most important my family. My parents live three doors down. My only sibling lives a few miles down the road with my niece and nephew that I love to the moon and back. All this to move into an Airstream full time. I am so excited to do this with Don and see this great country of ours, but it sure is bitter sweet. I need a hug and an ice cream today xo
First run with Alice and Lucky went well, except for Sunday. I am making breakfast when all of a sudden Charlene says, “Don are you emptying the tanks?” She points out the window and all I can see is brown sludge coming up through the waste connection and draining all underneath our trailer. Thank God my tanks were closed, because the sewage was going up our hose and getting on everything we had including what was sitting outside the trailer. Needless to say, we threw the food in the trash and went out to breakfast (lol). Looks like we will be replacing some items. On a positive note, we didn’t kill each other and we will continue to get on the road. We won’t say anything bad about the KOA in Coatesville; but the Manager on the other hand……