Tag Archives: travel

Closing Summer with Catfish and Coastline

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Well, it was a toss-up this year for my Labor Day destination.  I thought about staying close to my hometown of Nashville and visit Knoxville’s Boomsday festival, but that would mean leaving Scamp and Rambler behind again .  So, I’m packing them up in Max, the Airstream, for one final summer outing.

I decided to head due south to Kingsland, Georgia for the 30th Annual Labor Day Weekend Catfish Festival. What Tennessee girl doesn’t like catfish?

Catfish Nuggets

Catfish nuggets! Yummy!

The festival started as a one-day small town festival, but now it’s grown to a regional event featuring arts and crafts, a big parade, and tons of southern food! Scamp and Rambler will probably beg me for a bite, but they’ll have to stick to their diets even if I’m not sticking to mine.

After my previous visit to the Georgia coast in January, I knew I had to get back to close out the summer. Sharon and Phil (who I met on my last trip to the Peach State) are set to meet us there.

What’s great about Kingsland (other than all the catfish you could possibly want to eat in a weekend) is that it’s close to the beach and better for my travelling companions since it is also close to wildlife areas and state forests.

My worry with the dogs running in the wooded areas this time of year is all the ticks and fleas (yuck!).  My vet friend Bailey told me most dogs can get them from weeds and high grass, so I thought about getting a flea collar for the guys. She told me some over-the-counter products can work great too, so I think I’m going to give them a try. We’ll see how it goes!

LED Lights from Dometic

Love my new LED lights!

I have a feeling Sharon and Phil will be jealous of Max’s “upgrade.” The new addition is very much 21st century. Dometic has some really cool LED lights  that help me “light up the night” so I can enjoy the cooler autumn evenings that are on the way. They hook right onto my RV’s awning so I can sit outside and read, eat, and play with Scamp and Rambler well after the sun has set. 

I really didn’t know a lot about LED lights, so I did a little research. I learned that LEDs are much more energy efficient than typical “bulbs” and can last thousands of hours longer than regular lights. Sounds good to me!

I’m really looking forward to visiting southern Georgia again and seeing my newfound friends (and now e-mail buddies) Sharon and Phil. It’s amazing how the adventure of RVing can open up a whole new world to us and open up the opportunities to meet people we may have never met if we hadn’t chosen the RV lifestyle. For Scamp and Rambler, they’ll be happy to revisit the sandy beaches and pine-laden state forests in the area…and to fruitlessly search for some festival fare.

Livin’ the love,

Robin

*Disclaimer: RV.com, which is owned by Dometic Corporation, sponsors On the Road with Robin.  Neither Dometic Corporation, nor RV.com, provide this blogger with free Dometic products, and this blogger does not receive a commission on click-throughs from links on this blog to RV.com, Dometic.com, or any other site.  All references made to product brands are made in an attempt to provide readers with the knowledge necessary to recreate the experiences mentioned in this blog.

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My Old Kentucky Home Away From Home

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 The last time I updated this blog I told you that I was planning to attend Thunder Over Louisville, the air show and fireworks event that kicks off the Kentucky Derby Festival and that I would give you a review.

 In a word…well, three actually…

 “It…was…unbelievable!”

 All I can say is, if you’ve never been to this, you have to go. The planes fly all day, and there are so many people around, you have no choice but to make friends with your neighbors on the Great Lawn on the shore of the Ohio River.  The air show only ends when it is time to light the fireworks, and believe me, there is a reason they call this event “THUNDER Over Louisville.” They set off so many fireworks at one time that the ground shakes!…and it keeps shaking for a good 40 minutes!

It was one of the most amazingly fun events I’d ever attended…

 … until I went to the Kentucky Derby!

Louisville, Kentucky Derby

Louisville, Kentucky Derby (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 Here’s how it all came about.  At Thunder Over Louisville, my friends and I met a couple who live on a farm a few miles east of the city.  They’re natives to Louisville and when they discovered I’d be staying for some more of the Kentucky Derby Festival events, they invited me to park my Airstream, Max, on their farm and save myself additional expense at the RV park.  I jumped all over that!

My newfound friends, Judy and Butch, invited me to stay in a spare bedroom at their house but I didn’t want to impose – after all, I was planning to hang around for as much as a week or two to go to more of the Festival events and nothing gets old faster than a house guest.  They were kind enough to let me park Max down by a nice creek they have running through their property a few hundred yards from their house. 

It was wonderful.  Of course, I didn’t have power hook-ups like at the RV park, but it gave me a chance to fire up my new portable generator again.  I’d given it a pretty heavy workout earlier when we were picnicking at the RV park and now I had it all to myself.  I don’t know how I ever lived without such a thing.  And the beauty of it is it’s given me more freedom to accept kind invitations like the one Judy and Butch extended to me.

 But, I’m off the track here.  You want to know how I got to attend the Kentucky Derby.

The day before the race, Judy walked down and told me they had a friend who had a box at Churchill Downs, had invited them and said he had one extra ticket.  Would I like to go with them?  Are you kidding me?!  I’ve always wanted to see the Kentucky Derby in person!

I had a very nice outfit just for such an occasion and Judy completed it for me with what she said was “an absolute essential” for the Derby — a hat.  It was one she had worn a few years before and she said I was welcome to it. 

The other essential is a mint julep.  If you’ve never had one, you owe it to yourself to try it.  I didn’t know this but Kentucky is the only place in the world where bourbon is made and it’s the main ingredient of a mint julep.  I can tell you, the mint julep may look innocent enough but it’s got the kick of a mule, and it’s the perfect libation for a day betting the horses. (It was even more perfect that a horse named I”ll Have Another won the big race!)

The highlight of the day for me was the playing of My Old Kentucky Home prior to the race.  The entire crowd sings it.  I have to tell you, I may hail from Massachusetts originally, but I felt like a Kentuckian. I’ve got to admit the song choked me up a bit.

It was a long, fun-filled day, and I will never forget it.  The next morning, I said goodbye to my gracious hosts and hit the road to retrieve Scamp and Rambler from my friends in Nashville.  I was humming My Old Kentucky Home all the way down I-65.

Livin’ the love,

Robin

*Disclaimer: RV.com, which is owned by Dometic Corporation, sponsors On the Road with Robin.  Neither Dometic Corporation, nor RV.com, provide this blogger with free Dometic products, and this blogger does not receive a commission on click-throughs from links on this blog to RV.com, Dometic.com, or any other site.  All references made to product brands are made in an attempt to provide readers with the knowledge necessary to recreate the experiences mentioned in this blog.

Let the Fireworks Begin!

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There’s one big event I’ve heard about for years–Thunder Over Louisville.  I’ve never attended, but I’ve decided this is the year for me. 

Thunder Over Louisville

Thunder Over Louisville Fireworks!

Thunder Over Louisville is billed as the world’s largest fireworks show and is the official kick-off to the Kentucky Derby Festival.  The Festival itself spans the weeks leading up to the Kentucky Derby (always the first Saturday in May) and includes events like a steamboat race and a balloon race. Sounds like my kind of fun!

“Thunder” is more than just a fireworks display, though. It is a day-long Saturday event (April 21 this year) on the banks of the Ohio River with more than half a million people hanging out and watching an air show during the afternoon while they wait for the fireworks to start.  I’ve heard it’s pretty amazing, especially when it gets dark.  A friend of mine who’s been to it says the fireworks are set to music, and they have things like a “waterfall of fire” from one of the bridges.

I’ve seen pictures of Thunder Over Louisville and heard stories about it. I’ve always wanted to see it in person, and now in a few days I’ll be pulling my Airstream, Max, up to Louisville to meet some RV friends of like mind – three couples I’ve known for years – and we’ll attend together.

Unfortunately, having been cautioned by friends who’ve attended, I’m going to have to leave Scamp and Rambler behind in Nashville.  Pets aren’t allowed at the event and they’d be frightened by the noise anyway so my good friends, Anne and Chet, offered to give Scamp and Rambler a vacation at their place for a week or so, depending on how many of the Derby Festival Events I want to attend.  The dogs will no doubt enjoy the change of pace themselves – I mean, everybody needs some time away, right?

We’ve booked adjoining spaces in a nice RV park just south of Louisville and will take two cars into town for the festivities.  We’ll make the RV park our base of operations, so to speak.  I’ve always enjoyed the “group camp” and all it brings with it, especially the division of labor.  You get to share the cooking chores and inevitably you learn some new recipes.  I like the group dynamic, too–card playing after dinner, a few convivial libations, and trading stories. 

One of the other couples who has been to Thunder before says the RV park we’ve booked has a really nice picnic grounds.  It’s somewhat removed from the main RV area and sits under a wonderful stand of shade trees, but it doesn’t have power.  We’ve talked about sharing a few meals there, so I’m looking forward to trying out my latest acquisition, my new Dometic portable generator.  We’re such an electricity-dependent society, aren’t we?  It will be nice to be able to plug in useful appliances (like my blender) when we’re “roughing it” away from the RVs.

I’m really looking forward to Thunder Over Louisville and the rest of the Kentucky Derby Festival.  I’ve always heard those Kentuckians know how to throw a party.  Any place that is the home of thoroughbred horse racing and bourbon knows how to show visitors a good time.  I’ll let you know how it all went in a few weeks.

Livin’ the love,

Robin

A Request For “Rookie” Tips

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Tips for First Time RVers

Follow the signs and follow the rules!

I got the nicest response to my last blog entry from a woman named Debra, and I’m just now taking the time to acknowledge it.  Because of what she asked, I thought it might be nice to share my answer through the blog since it concerns something a lot of people – well, at least the people who like to read my blog! – might wish to know. 

She wrote that she and her husband were going to be renting an RV for the first time this summer and she was looking for some “rookie” tips from an old hand like me.

So here goes…

As I was thinking about what to tell Debra, it occurred to me that there is one overriding theme that seems to be common to every situation and to every interaction you’ll have. It has to do with courtesy. Since most of us RVers tend to stay in campgrounds or RV parks, that’s a good place to start. 

  • The first tip I’d pass along is to learn the campground’s or park’s rules as soon as you get there (or even before, if they have a website). You’ll find they’re usually written to insure you enjoy your stay and to allow others to enjoy theirs. 
  • When you get there, take a look at how others are parked.  Generally, you’ll want to try to orient your RV the same as others
  • Are you pulling in late at night or leaving especially early?  Try to make as little noise as possible or not burn lights too late or too early that may disturb others. 
  • Have a firepot there in the space?  Use it for fire only, not as a makeshift garbage can. 
  • Got pets? (Boy, do I have pets!)  I love my dogs, Scamp and Rambler, but I realize not everyone else likes pets, so I’m always careful to keep them under control

It’s just simple courtesy when you think about it. Try to conduct yourself so that you leave nothing behind but a good memory of your visit for those you get to know on the road. If you are looking for more tips for beginner RVers or for tips for camping on your own like I do, check out RV.com’s RV Lifestyle Tips.

I’ll conclude with one of my favorite memories about being an RVer and the whole idea of treating others as you would like to be treated. 

I was spending the night in a campground in a swamp on the Louisiana-Texas border a few years back when I first started the RV life.  The campground was pretty bare-bones, it was miles to the nearest grocery store and it was the middle of the week.  There were only a few RVs there.  The couple from the next occupied space – about four down from where I was parked- was trying to prepare their dinner.  He was manning the grill, she was in their galley.  A few minutes later, the wife walked over to my Airstream, Max, and, after apologizing for intruding, asked if I had any cumin (the spice) I could spare.  As luck would have it, I had about two teaspoons left in a spice tin and offered it to her.  She protested that she couldn’t take the last of what I had but I insisted, since I wasn’t going to use it anytime soon.  She thanked me repeatedly and went back to their motor home.

About a year later, I was at a campground outside Austin, relaxing in a canvas chair under my awning one evening, when, to my great surprise, the woman I had met the year before in the swamp walked up and, with a big smile, handed me an unopened spice tin of cumin.  Laughing, she said, “I was hoping we’d run into you again some day.”

Do unto others…that’s the one tip I’d pass along as essential.  Keep that in mind and you’ll be fine.

Livin’ the love,

Robin

*Disclaimer: RV.com, which is owned by Dometic Corporation, sponsors On the Road with Robin.  Neither Dometic Corporation, nor RV.com, provide this blogger with free Dometic products, and this blogger does not receive a commission on click-throughs from links on this blog to RV.com, Dometic.com, or any other site.  All references made to product brands are made in an attempt to provide readers with the knowledge necessary to recreate the experiences mentioned in this blog.

Gorgeous Gorge

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Hey, fellow RVers! This is Robin, a long-time traveler on the road of adventure.

I’m not one who sets off on a journey to get away from it all. I hit the road to get connected! Connected to the beauty of this great land of ours…connected to other RVers…and connected to that restless spirit in my soul that cries out for freedom and fun. And of course my travellin’ dogs – named Scamp and Rambler – keep me connected to my silly side with all their crazy animal antics. These two beasties love when I fire up the grill for some of Robin’s famous Cheeseburgers Extraordinaire (I’ll share my secret recipe in a future blog!)

My latest excursion was to Red River Gorge in Powell County, Kentucky. Scamp and Rambler took me on a hike through some beautiful woodland trails. Actually, they scamper ahead and then turn back at me with pleading looks to catch up. But hey, they have four legs and still have traces of their old puppy energy, while I’m a thirty-something with a backpack, making my way up the hill on two less lively legs. Tough to be pitied by your pets.

Along with hiking under a sweet smelling canopy of white pines, hemlock and sugar maples, Red River Gorge also features rock climbing and zip line rides for the true outdoor adventurer.  And you MUST visit Natural Bridge – a 65-foot-high sandstone arch in nearby Natural Bridge State Park.  Awesome photo ops there. Just look at all those great fall colors!

And while I’m visiting the Bluegrass State (it’s not really blue grass, you know), the dogs and I may hop down to one of the many corn mazes that spring up this time of year. When the corn grows high enough, they use GPS devices and satellite technology to carve really intricate mazes through the fields. It can be surprisingly disorienting to weave your way through the tall corn stocks, never knowing which way to turn. A fun treat for kids and adults this Halloween season.

Speaking of Halloween, I bought a new costume for Max, my classic 1991 Airstream.  Actually, it’s not really a costume, but a beautiful new Dometic awning* installed by my dealer. The colorful fabric really offsets Max’s shiny silver skin. To me, a nice awning is like adding a porch to your RV, making it the ultimate comfort, inside and out.  With a comfortable chair, my Dometic cooler*, Weber grill* and a chilled margarita, life is nothing short of spectacular.

For those of you who wrote in, Max (named after Mad Max – The Road Warrior) is a 1991 60th Anniversary Limited Edition. One of only 60 that were made. I enjoy the envious looks I get at the Airstream rallies I attend across the country.

With the advent of autumn, I’m thinking of heading up to New England to take in the spectacular fall sights. The changing leaves always set my heart free. Will keep you posted on where I end up.

If you have a chance, drop me an email and let me know where your road leads you. ‘Til then, settle back in your driver’s seat…stretch your leg to the gas pedal, and let’s hit the road together!

Livin’ the love,

Robin

*Disclaimer: RV.com, which is owned by Dometic Corporation, sponsors On the Road with Robin.  Neither Dometic Corporation, nor RV.com, provide this blogger with free Dometic products, and this blogger does not receive a commission on click-throughs from links on this blog to RV.com, Dometic.com, or any other site.  All references made to product brands are made in an attempt to provide readers with the knowledge necessary to recreate the experiences mentioned in this blog.

Mad Max and the Beastie Boys

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Hey, RVers! This is Robin, a long-time fellow traveler on the road of adventure. The truth is I live, eat, breathe and bask in the RV lifestyle, and only feel truly alive when I have spinning wheels moving me forward. So I thought I’d use this new blogspace on RV.com to share with each of you my thoughts, joys, and favorite places to visit in an RV.

 First off, let’s talk about how I’ve been RVing with my dogs, Scamp and Rambler, and our plans for the last few weeks of what has been a great summer. Is there anything as glorious as an endless expanse of black ribbon highway unwinding before you on a sunny August morning? I’ve chosen ‘Max’ as the nickname for my classic 1991 Airstream, in honor of Mad Max – The Road Warrior. Together, Max and I and my two beasties are on a decade-long mission to discover America. Not with a GPS or mapbook, but with face-to-face interactions with all my friends in the RV community.

 The goal for me and my travelin’ crew is to visit state parks in all of our great 50 states before I hit the big four-oh. So far, we have 32 states down and 16 more to go. And we’re not about to let this summer’s heat wave slow us down. My best friends under the scorching sun have been my Brisk Air AC unit and portable ice maker, both from Dometic, and my Waring Tailgater blender. This terrific threesome keeps us cool, whatever the weatherman says. They have been a real heat-buster for all of us.

 As you know, the kind of heat we had this summer can be really dangerous for pets on the road, but my air conditioner keeps the dogs cool inside the RV, and they really enjoy ice cubes in their water bowls as a special treat. Sometimes, I even slide a few cubes across the floor, just to watch Scamp and Rambler chase them around before chomping them up!

 And as for that blender…let’s just say we need to devote a future post to my favorite RV cocktails and cooking recipes!

 Well, my next stop is the beautiful state of Kentucky, and a place they call Red River Gorge. I hear they have some great hiking trails there, and you can even book a zipline tour. Looks like this Robin will be flying soon! Max is all gassed up and rarin’ to go, the dogs already have their noses out the window, and we’re ready to take on the Bluegrass State. Maybe we’ll see you there!

 If you have a chance, drop me an email and let me know where your road leads you. ‘Til then, settle back in your driver’s seat…stretch your leg to the gas peddle, and let’s hit the road together!

 Livin’ the love,

 Robin