Our Chalet Truck Camper

Our Chalet Truck Camper

Friday, June 01, 2007

VA to St. Louis, MO and ??

We've left VA headed for MO (May 30, 2007). The time spend with family was more than worth the 850 mile drive down from ME to VA. We even celebrated a 50th birthday party for my SIL and had ages from 8 to 87 in attendance. Took off early this morning having no idea where we would land for the night but with three firm destinations in mind.

First was the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA. This is a stunning tribute to those who died on D-Day and seeing the water with soldiers headed for shore and then climbing the cliffs is probably more than a lot of veterans who were there could handle. The bronze sculptures are larger than life as is the entire experience. If ever in the area, it is a must see and a reminder to all of us that our freedom is not free.

Second we headed for the Blue Ridge Parkway, following Peaks Road out of Bedford. This road led to the Peaks of Otter where we got on the Parkway. We had the entire road to ourselves, only seeing two motorcycles in the entire time we were on it. Mostly hazy but, as we stopped in many of the turnouts and shut the diesel off, the sounds of birds, running streams, an not motor noise what so ever, was very soothing. I cannot imagine the early settlers finding their way through these mountains and settling there. They are a "bit" hardier than we are today. Really hit home how spoiled we are as we ate cold salads taken out of the refrigerator in the camper.

Third we wanted to go see Natural Bridge. We had planned on taking Petites Gap Road up and over the ridges to Natural Bridge but somehow even with Delorme Mapping missed the turn. By the time we figured we had missed, just kept going the somewhat longer way to the Bridge. The arch is quite the amazing formation and worth the walk in. However the pure commercialism and junk around the entrance was almost enough that we thought about not taking the walk. Once past the junk, the walk along a small stream to the arch was refreshing. Continued on to a replica of an Indian Village and to a small water fall. Lesson learned - take TWO bottles of water when walking in southern heat.

At this point we hit I-64 thinking it would be like I-95 with a lot of traffic. It was almost a ghost road and went through some of the most beautiful mountain passes and valleys I've ever seen. The scenery there was better than Blue Ridge Parkway by a great degree. All the way from Covington, VA to Beckley WV and almost up to Charleston, WV is eastern mountains at their best. The F-350 diesel performed admirably, just chugging along in the slow truck lane like the big boys. We didn't push it since we have no time table and 50 mph going up some of those long, long, steep grades was about as much as we wanted to do. Tonight we are in the Kanawha State Forest just south of Charleston, WV. N38 15.0989, W81 39.6778No way could anything but TCs get up the rear entry road into the campground. Ranger was surprised we had come in that way

Tomorrow we have to find a Ford dealer and see if we can get the motor for the passenger side window repaired. Window is down and won't go up and no, it isn't a fuse. We'll head to Lexington, KY tomorrow and plan on staying at the Kentucky Horse Park Campground right beside a horse farm with horse racing history museum and lots of horses to watch. We're not into baseball but Louisville has a steamboat museum and then on to Paducah, KY to the American Quilt Museum. Next St. Louis?

Thursday, May 31
Really odd travel day today, starting with the search in Charleston, WV for a Ford dealer. Joe says he doesn't have enough hair left to have the wind blow through it all day. Delorme Phone Directory was off and led us to a part of Charleston we didn't really want to be in. Got better directions and found the dealer. Service manager said it would be late in the afternoon before he could even look at the window that wouldn't close. Apologetic but really backlogged. He called a smaller dealer west on I-64 who said he could work a repair in. If you are ever near Medway Ford in Hurricane, WV they give incredible service. That dealer worked us in quickly, confirmed the window motor was shot but was able to get the window back up. New motor wouldn't be available until next day so we will get it fixed on returning home. We did have them disconnect the motor controller so we couldn't put it back down again Just as we were pulling off, an elderly gentleman and his wife flagged us down to see the camper. He'd just bought an Apache and wanted to talk truck campers. While showing him the Airlift Bags, Joe found one bolt missing and one sheared off. Not good and we sure didn't drive easily the rest of the day. Ford dealer wouldn't touch the bolts as it is after market equipment but also said they wouldn't fall off or be destroyed driven as they were. He suggested airing them down a bit and using the truck springs as needed.

We stopped in Beckley, WV to see the Exhibition Coal Mine but it was closed and being totally rebuilt. Headed on to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY, planning to stop in their campground overnight and walk over to see the horses, museum, etc. This is a VERY high end RV park with most of the campers being enormous A size with associated tender cars and trailers. It was probably fine but just didn't feel very welcoming. We decided to go back into Frankfort, KY and go to the Buffalo Trace Distillery for the tour. Never seen whiskey barrels in use or the bottling procedure. Very interesting and worth the time. Even more so was the Kentucky Military History Museum. Tonight we are in the Elkhorn Campgrounds in Frankfort, KY. Walked around to see if others had Airlift Air Bags and met a fellow who had just had a new 5th wheel hitch installed He called his dealer who handles Airlift air bags and we have an appointment for tomorrow AM about 40 miles away. This means (gasp) taking the Lance off the truck. Campers sure are helpful souls aren't they?

So.... after the air bag fix, back to load the camper, we'll be off to Jefforsonville, IN just across the river from Louisville, KY to see the Howard Steamboat Museum. Then down to Paducah KY to see the American Quilt Museum. Bribing Joe with a cafe known for their pies. Might do another night in a state park there and then finally off to St. Louis. Weather so far has been in the upper 80s and lower 90s and hazy but not too humid. At least it isn't snowing.

Friday, June 1
Air Bags all fixed, checked out, all bolts replaced with much larger and hardened bolts. We went to Line-X of Kentucky in Nicholasville, KY and worked with a man named Rick Satterwhite. http://www.line-xofky.com/ If you are ever in the area and need help with airbags or hitches, go there.

TC loaded on first try with Ted's DUH system. We made it from Lexington to Paducah along some very rough concrete roads being repaired. Good thing the airbags were repaired. Tonight we are in a KOA so that I could use wireless and we could do laundry. Tomorrow I'll go to the American Quilt Museum, Joe will go to the Paducah Railroad Museum and we both will go to the River Heritage Museum. Then on to St. Louis - the original goal of the trip.

1 comment:

Shirley said...

Sounds like you are having a wonderful trip, KY is really nice. Envy you the quilt museum, look forward to pictures. If you see the "Delta Queen" wave to her for us!