Thanksgiving and Birthdays in Durham

For the last 7 years, we have been traveling to Durham, North Carolina for Thanksgiving with our younger daughter. She moved here for her PhD at Duke and liked the area and stayed.

There’s a new special reason to visit this year – a granddaughter born in May. We love spending time with her and her big sister age 2. When here, we stay at Falls Lake State Park about 20 minutes away from their house. Dinner is always a treat as she and her husband are excellent cooks. With two babies, pulling Thanksgiving dinner off is quite a challenge, but it was delicious as always.


Our son-in-law’s birthday was on Wednesday, and our mini goldendoodle Bogey turned 13 on Thanksgiving day.



Lots of celebrating going on. And, there was some Black Friday shopping accomplished, as well. Black Friday was sunny and warm with temperatures in the 70’s so we took the opportunity to visit Ponysaurus, a local brewery.


We always have a great time in Durham.

Boondocking in WV

We pass through West Virginia A LOT. We are very familiar with the West Virginia Turnpike (I-77) and travel it often to visit our daughter’s family in Durham, North Carolina. It’s curious to us how few campgrounds there are along our route. The half way point between Cincinnati and Durham is the Tamarack Artisan Center in West Virginia near Beckley. It offers WV handmade high-end art items, food, clothing, etc. and some very tasty food in their restaurant that is affiliated with the Greenbrier Resort.


Our motorhome in the RV parking area at the Tamarack

We’ve stopped here before, but never inquired about RV overnight parking. We thought we would give it a shot this trip. Alternately, we would head for a nearby Walmart. In all our years of RV’ing we have only stayed at a Walmart one night and that was due to a storm.

(in case you are unfamiliar with the term ‘boondocking’ it refers to free camping – usually out in the boondocks and without any electric, water or sewer hook ups).

After lunch, we inquired inside at the information desk and were told to just go ahead and park in the RV parking, they have 24 hour security. Several other RV joined later in the evening.

It was a very chilly night and a good test for our boondocking capabilities. We ran the Oasis system heat and set our energy management system for the generator to come on when the batteries drained to 11.9v and then run for an hour and a half. We were able to watch football on TV and had a comfortable night.


RViewToday – the distinctive Tamarack and our neighbor

So we continued on our way to see the grandbabies, anticipating our Thanksgiving feast.


Yay! We are together back in the motorhome and in Cincinnati. We are staying at the FMCA campground, while we visit friends and family and take care of some to-do’s like getting Bogey groomed.

This campground has begun to feel like ‘home’ to us. It’s funny too, because we meet some of the same people here from previous visits.

Going to be spending Thanksgiving in Durham so we won’t be here too long.

Another Week in Indiana

This past week we’ve been in separate places again..

Our daughter in Indianapolis is certainly keeping Roni busy, while Tom is still dealing with motorhome issues in Northern Indiana.

First, let us tell you about the motorhome repairs. Newmar graciously replaced the upholstery – again. We had received a bad batch of material that was fraying and peeling, and they replaced it all back this past summer. They used the wrong ultraleather on the replacements and after some ‘discussion’ they agreed to do it again with the material we had originally picked out. The first opportunity to do the second replacement was October. In addition to this, we needed to replace our windshield and the company our insurance sent us to is in Elkhart, Indiana, just a short drive from Newmar in Nappanee.

Tom spent a couple days at Duncan Glass and had to stay in a hotel one night as the adhesive needed to cure, and the coach couldn’t be moved for 24 hours. However, the replacement windshield has a large, visible flaw and will need to be replaced again. (there’s a pattern developing here). After they removed the severely cracked windshield Tom received a call from the company telling him they noticed the defect and couldn’t get another windshield in for 3 weeks.

Luckily, they have a facility in Lexington, Kentucky that can do the second replacement and we won’t have to drive all the way north to Elkhart in December. We’ll see how that works out, we are waiting to hear from them.

Meanwhile, back in Indy, Roni is helping out with grandkids and visiting with our very pregnant daughter and her husband. The grandkids had parts in their school’s musical production of Cinderella. Quite an impressive production for a grade school. Abby was an invitation girl and pajama party girl, and part of the ensemble cast.


Mum and the kids before the first performance

Luke played the part of one of Cinderella’s mice. The mice stole the show!


Our little mouse is the closest to the fire

Roni also helped with crafting items for the gift store at the show and manning the booth for all 3 performances.


Roni and Toni at the gift shop with some of the items for sale.

There was also a baby shower to attend! What great friends and neighbors our daughter has. Baby Violet is due to arrive December 27th. Can’t wait to meet her!


Sorry for the blurry picture- someone else’s phone pic

Our little granddaughter Anna was born in May and we can’t resist sharing this super cute picture of her taken last week.


Anna 5 months