As full-timers we cannot always be with family when we want. We decided to fly back to MN at Christmas to be with our kids and new that it would be spring before we would see them again. We talk to them regularly on the cell, facetime our granddaughter Cate almost every week, text message a lot but it just isn’t the same as seeing their faces in person or putting your arms around them. I’m told by other full-timers who have been doing it for many more years than Joe and I that it gets easier. I hope they are right or I’ll just be buying more airline tickets. So travelling towards family is traveling home no matter where that is.
We made our way to Charlotte, NC to spend a few days with our daughter Cassie who was flying into Charlotte for business. First we made a stop in Fayetteville, NC for a few days and then went on to Raleigh to go to an RV Show and catch-up with a couple Joe has been communicating with for the last few years on a RV Forum. Jim and Maureen are from the Raleigh area and Jim works for an RV dealer who was showing RVs at the show. They were nice enough to ask us if we wanted to stay in their driveway but we decided we would stay at the fairgrounds where the show was taking place. Jim and Maureen decided to pull in alongside of us in their Sunnybrook 5th wheel. They were both very busy with the show so we didn’t get a lot of visiting time in before Joe and I had to take off for Charlotte. It was nice for Joe to put a face with someone he has been talking to for such a long time on the forum.
We made one last stop before Charlotte at a county park in Salisbury. This is another community that had a historic section with huge, old, beautiful homes. Hollywood was filming a series called “Sleepy Hallow” in the historic downtown during the night. We will keep our eye out for this series to see if we recognize anything.
Charlotte and Cassie were our next stop. It was so good to see family! I had a rough week the week before with homesickness for the kids. Not sure if it was the idea that we were going to see Cass soon or if I just was that homesick for family but I needed that visit. It was really just 30 hours of hanging out but it was a very nice 30 hours. We were staying in a county park, McDowell Nature Preserve, which had some really nice hiking trails. Joe and I had hiked a few trails before Cass came and then the three of us took a nice hike in the brisk air. The visit was short but great and now we were off to see our son, Zach, in Ohio.
The Monday we took off from Charlotte was cold and snowy. We drove about 200 miles in snow before we stopped at a KOA in Fancy Gap, Virginia in the Appalachian Mountains. The mountain driving wasn’t bad except there had been a rockslide on Hwy 77 and we had to take a detour which is never fun but even worse when it is snowing. We decided it was time to settle down for the night because of the snow and the wind had gotten really bad. By the time we got settle in for the night the temperature was down to the mid-twenties. It is hard to keep a RV warm but it is even harder when there is a cold wind blowing. Our furnace and electric heater were both getting a work-out. Around 11:00pm we were getting ready to crawl into our almost warm bed when we lost power. The host of the campground was outside with a few other people including Joe trying to figure out what was going on. After about a half hour and not knowing what was going on we decided to turn our furnace very low to conserve on the battery and try to stay warm under the blankets. We ended up not getting much sleep at all because first we were so cold but second we were worried about our pipes freezing. With very little gas in the tank the next morning we decided to start up our generator and get some heat going. By 9:00 we were told that a tree had blown over onto the electrical wires and it would be fixed soon. By 9:30 we were on the road. It was just to cold to sit around and wait.
We drove out of the mountains and into West Virginia to our next stop in Milton, home of Blenko Glass Co. I had never heard of Blenko Glass but the owner of the CG told us we had to take the tour. It wasn’t really a tour but an observation deck that you could watch glass blowers some days and some days other glassware being made. We happen to be on a day when they were making glass bowls. It was interesting but I’m sure it would have been a lot more interesting to watch them glass blowing. Blenko Glass Co. was started in 1893 on this spot in Milton. They employee anywhere between 50 and 100 people depending on the season. We happened to get in on their once a year factory sale where they had rows of seconds and also where they had inventory they just needed to sell. The seconds seem to be a good deal but the good stuff was expensive. They displayed beautiful glassware and stain glass windows that even Joe appreciated. It was an interesting place to visit but we both were disappointed that they didn’t have more history available. They had a small room that held a collection of glassware dating back to almost the beginning of the factory but no real written history of the place and no one to ask questions. We decided the people working in both the visitor center where you could buy glassware and the factory sale didn’t like their jobs because they were all very unfriendly. We bought a beautiful glass ball that was hand blown with what appears to be a tree in the inside with its branches outstretched. It is called “Tree of Life”. It took Joe and I a long time to figure out what we would do with it but we both really loved it and it is for now hanging above our couch. I just have to remember to take it down before we move. One of the things about living in an RV is not have space for “things” so we really don’t buy “things” like this ball. But this was one of those times when we both loved it so it came home with us. For the past 14 years Blenko Glass has made the awards presented at the Country Music Awards. It might be a reason to catch a glimpse of the next Country Awards show (might).
We left West Virginia heading to our son’s in Ohio but not before spending Easter with Joe’s brother and his family. A few night stay in the town of Lebanon, OH brought us close to more family. We found ourselves again in a historic town and enjoyed a day of walking around Lebanon and having a late afternoon treat at the local ice cream shop. Easter Sunday we invited ourselves to Joe’s brother Art’s house. I said I was homesick for family and we really got family on Easter. Art and Nancy had a houseful of family and friends. Besides their three boys and their girlfriends, Joe’s mom, Lois, and sister, Betsy had flown in from Minneapolis. Then our son Zach and his wife Lauren came and friends of Art’s and Nancy and their two daughters. It was a houseful but the sound of family having a good time was music to our ears and the food was not bad either. Thank you Art and Nancy for allowing us to share this day with you. We are truly blessed!
So now we are settled in for two weeks to spend time with Zach and Lauren, Hope, Harvey, and Jake their three dogs. Cabinets coming down, puppy parks, bike rides and a whole lot of visiting. Family!
Below is the saying that came with the glass ball Joe and I purchased at Blenko Glass Co. By knowing us you understand why we fell in love with the ball and its meaning.
TREE OF LIFE – Like each leaf of a tree our life is full of colorful and unique moments that define us as individuals. Similarly, the changes a tree endures throughout the seasons illustrates to us the circle of life. The Tree of Life reminds us to live everyday of our lives with compassion, integrity and gratitude.
Be safe and love to all of our family and friends!