A Meeting of Kindred Souls

Dear Kelli,

Life is amazing, isn’t it? Connections can happen all the time and if you are open to it, those connections can turn into the most amazing and rewarding friendships that you have the privilege of experiencing. Online friendships are wonderful and I consider those friendships to be very real, but when you can also meet in person, it is a fabulous thing. Meeting you was fabulous!! And in glorious Williamsburg, VA, no less.

First meetup at Williamsburg Outdoor World RV Park

First meetup at Williamsburg Outdoor World RV Park

Sensenig Family meet Lincoln Family in Williamsburg, VA. A beautiful place, beautiful family, deep conversations and warm hugs. All worth waiting for, completely and totally.

Jamestown Visit

Jamestown Visit

Here are a few posts that I wrote on The Sights Unseen, One about our visit to Coastal Virginia and the other when we visited Historic Jamestowne (which was enjoyed with you!).

I think of the other meet ups, wonderful conversation, conversations I want to continue and just being able to meet you and your family. Something I will cherish for quite some time.

I hope you are enjoying your continuing journey through VA and I’m here in PA looking forward to when our paths cross once again!

Joyful Journeys, Lincoln Family!

Christy xoxo

Ode to a Sand Gnat

Okay, not really, but mainly because there aren’t enough curse words that rhyme.

Apparently, we are just in time on the Georgia Coast for Sand Gnat Season! Let me just leave it at this: the West Coast grows a weaker sort of person. Between the heat, humidity, and overwhelming amount of insects (most of which BITE), I am just not cut out for this part of the country – and IT’S ONLY MARCH! Good heavens.

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The Golden Isles area

I enjoyed your review of Damascus; it looks quite lovely! I’ll tell you a bit about this area where we are, since it’s a convenient place to stop when traveling to Florida, which I know is popular with RVers. We are here visiting my sister and her family, who live on St. Simon’s Island, but there are actually a lot of interesting things to see around the Golden Isles! Most people might book an overnight stay at this RV park in Brunswick because it’s an easy on-and-off the Interstate, but if you can stay longer, here are some of the things we’ve enjoyed here.

The Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island is a neat place to learn all about sea turtles. They have a sea turtle hospital/rehab center there, and a fun activity which takes you around the interpretive center in which you play a game to figure out if, as a sea turtle yourself, you would have lived to a ripe old age. We weren’t able to see a lot of the rest of Jekyll Island, but it is really lovely, with beautiful beaches and a historic district. Note: there’s a $6 toll to get across the causeway over to Jekyll.

St. Simon’s Island is where we’ve spent most of our time, and I love it there! One unique thing to do is to drive around and check out the Tree Spirits which are carved all over the place. My sister took us around to see most of them, but luckily for YOU, there’s a map. 😉 There are at least 20 of them, so it’s a fun treasure hunt!

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Also on St. Simons is a lighthouse; the best way to absorb the history of this area is to read the St. Simon’s Trilogy by Eugenia Price, which goes into detail about the history of the lighthouse and the island and it’s people. We very much enjoyed the newly-remodeled lighthouse museum here. The docent who met us at the door gave us a lot of information before letting us look around on our own. The upstairs rooms are furnished as if a lighthouse keeper were living there back in the day, to give you an idea of what living there might have been like. There are several ghost stories associated with this lighthouse. 🙂 Climbing the lighthouse is very good exercise, but if you aren’t used to stairs, you may be sore for about three days, LOL. (don’t ask me how I know!)

view from the top!

view from the top!

 

Next up: Fort Frederica! We have been traveling the country for the last nine months, collecting junior ranger badges and experiences, and this program is the most impressive we’ve seen to date. Instead of just a workbook, junior rangers get a (borrowed) haversack full of amazing props; a hat or bonnet to wear, a compass, an old-timey telescope, an 18th-century newspaper, a protractor, a tallow candle, etc. The workbook has embedded letters, missions, and maps that are exciting to uncover, and you follow a story around the fort’s ruins as you learn not only about the fort itself, but also the individual people who lived there. This is the best example of experiential learning over busy-work (like crossword or number puzzles) we’ve seen so far, and it was a breath of fresh air.

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The grounds here are just beautiful. This  is where the old fort wall used to be.

The grounds here are just beautiful. This is where the old fort wall used to be.

 

Just up the interstate in Darien is Fort King George, built in 1721! We enjoyed the museum, especially the display on the local herbal apothecary and some of the artifacts. Don’t miss some of the fantastic maps of early America in the theater, which are quite interesting. The fort is a great reconstruction and our kids enjoyed walking through it, but it would have been nice if there were more a few more interpretive signs in the fort area. We were there on a quiet day, but I’m sure it’s quite hopping when they have the reenactors there (which apparently happens on a regular basis, with blacksmiths, etc.)

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wow, the ACTING! She looks miserable. LOL

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The last place I’ll tell you about (this is getting long) is about 45 minutes up the highway (you have to jump off of 95 onto 17 for a bit, but it’s easy to get back to 95 when you need to, either on the way to or from Savannah) to the historic town of Midway, GA. Rhanna and I passed by here in January and just had to return to spend time at the museum and cemetery there. Puritans founded this town in 1754, and the rich historical background through both the Revolutionary and Civil wars is amazing. Definitely make time to go to the museum there, run by a tireless woman named Diane, who spent two and a half HOURS giving us a private tour of the museum and the old church (which is so cool inside). Rhanna and I were totally geeking out. The cemetery is a walled one and has a really cool atmosphere. For somewhere that seems like a small, sleepy, middle-of-nowhere place, there is a huge amount of history here. (Delegates to the Continental Congress, signers of the Declaration of Independence, and connections to about four Presidents! Very surprising!)

Midway cemetery and church

Midway cemetery and church

 

A Review of Damascus, VA

This is review of the town of Damascus, VA and all of the surrounding locations that we visited during our stay. 

Damascus, VA is a small town located near both the Virginia Creeper Trail and the Appalachian Trail. Just a few miles from the Tennessee line, this sweet town provides a beautiful oasis to explore trails, take in the New River and enjoy many views of the mountains of Southwest VA.

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We began our time by claiming our site for the month at Laurel Creek RV Park. We were able to have our choice of spots since we were one of two campers in the park. We loved our spot. Walking out to a view of the New River each day was such a peaceful sight. There were even a few times that we spotted some wildlife, mainly geese and ducks and a few birds, but given the low temperatures most of the time, those views were seldom seen. We stayed there during the month of December and although we didn’t deal with any ice or snow, the temps were very low. The park offers full hookups, the owners are not on site, but can be reached easily. No other amenities are available, but the park is open year round, which is definitely a plus in this particular area.

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The park is located within walking distance to the town of Damascus. A walk on the Virginia Creeper Trail will take you the town park with the public library close by. Also, within walking distance is Mojoe’s Trailside Coffee, which we frequently visited and the town stores and restaurants. A beautiful town with some of the most friendly people you will meet, Damascus has so much incredible scenery to offer that just a walk through the town will feed the nature lover in you. You can begin to understand why it is named Trail Town USA.

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The town was decorated for Christmas during our stay, but during the summer, the town hosts a festival called Trail Days. Hikers, bikers and campers from all over the USA congregate in the town for several days of entertainment, great food, crafts and outdoor events. It is a great time for the attendees, but also for the town, as it provides them a chance to show what this little town has to offer.

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A twenty minute drive will take you to Abingdon, VA. Better yet, rent a bike in Damascus, take a shuttle to the trail and ride there! It is one of the most beautiful bike rides you will ever take. But once you are in Abingdon, many choices await you. Wonderful restaurants, a strong focus on local food, theatre, art, music and opportunities to connect with the local residents. I will wait to review Abingdon in more detail, but I will say that it is a pleasure to visit this area and it will provide much enjoyment to your entire family.

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If you have the opportunity to visit Southwest VA, make sure to plan a stop in Damascus and check out all it has to offer you. We enjoyed our stay and hope you will, too!

Sensenig Family

Sweet Friendships

Dear Lincolns,

Thank you so much for sharing your experience of crossing paths with people that are open to sharing your journey with you. It is an amazing experience to have those moments of connection with perfect strangers, but connected as fellow humans on our own journeys. And how lovely to have such a sweet gift on the eve of your birthday! Absolutely priceless!

This encourages me to recall the past 2 years we have been traveling. We have met so many amazing people in that time and although when we come to our home area and connect with familiar faces, it is wonderful to know that we have those types of friendships all over the US. Reconnecting with friends we met in Florida, a few months later, we may see them in New Mexico. Planning to stay at a certain RV park in AZ and we find out there are fellow traveling families parked right next to us. Making new friends in NV and connecting so deeply that we just don’t want to leave, but trust that we will meet again at some point in time.

I think I love connecting with people the most. Even the introvert in me shouts for joy when I know there is a familiar face nearby that can relate to where we are in life. All the schedules and plans are put aside with no questions asked, just so we can connect for a bit and tell stories of where we have been and what we have done…how things have changed since we saw them last…which areas were the best to visit, which ones to avoid.

I love this life! May you have many more serendipitous moments to cherish!

Sweet friends in Las Vegas, NV.

Sweet friends in Las Vegas, NV.

Joyful Journeys!

Christy

Random Act of Kindness

Dear Sensenigs,

What an adorable tree! We haven’t gotten one yet, but we may still try to find one once we get to Savannah. Our cousin Karen did send us a bottle of essential oil of fir spray, since she knew we wouldn’t have a big tree but might want the RV to smell like Christmas, so at least it smells like holidays here! 🙂 We definitely want to see your gingertardis – that sounds ambitious!

We’re leaving Charleston tomorrow, and we’ve been dragging our feet. But we have so many great memories (we added Caw Caw Swamp and the Provost Dungeon to the list since last writing), and one really amazing ROAK gift I wanted to tell you about.

The day before my birthday, we spent a couple of hours at Folly Beach, just playing in the sand and surf. It was really relaxing. As we headed back to the car, there was a dressed-to-the-nines family standing just at the edge of the sand, and we all smiled and greeted one another, and I cheerily suggested they remove their fancy shoes to feel the warm sand on their feet, and they all laughed. One of the men (his name is Al) asked me where we were from (our accents give us away immediately) and it turned out that in 1973, he was stationed at an army base near our hometown. We couldn’t believe the connection, and so we happily chatted for quite a while about that. He and his wife Pamela then asked if we were enjoying Charleston, and so of course I was quite enthusiastic and effusive in my compliments about the area. I may or may not have started waxing poetic about walking down the historic cobblestone streets and touching the actual buildings where so much happened in the past. I can’t help it, I love history! So Al then gets this big smile on his face and murmurs to Pamela something about showing me something from the trunk, and he heads to his car. I dump my armful of shoes, backpacks, and towels in our car (which is parked right next to theirs) and turn to see what he’s pulling out of the trunk.

Al’s car is immaculate, as you only see with people who no longer have young children, and his trunk has only one thing in it, a box. He seems to be unwrapping something; he turns around holding this little piece of artwork and as he puts it in my hand he says, “This is a slate from one of the houses on Rainbow Row, from the 1700’s.” Okay, I’m not kidding when I tell you that I am a history NUT, and so I gasp and just as I am about to make a comment about how amazing this is, he says, “It’s for you.” My next gasp was louder and I shook my head and tried to hand him back this beautiful gift, saying, “I couldn’t possibly!” and he let out this gorgeous, deep belly-laugh (he’s a very large, 6’4″ dark African-American man, for further context) and jokes conspiratorially to Abe, “She says she can’t take it, but there it is, right in her hands! How did that happen??” Oh my goodness, it was so funny. So I was given no choice but to accept this fine gift, letting them know that it was my birthday eve and nothing this generous had ever happened to me. I reached up and gave him a big hug, and as I gave Pamela a hug as well (she was laughing and gracious and proudly entertained by her husband), apparently Al gave Rhanna (who had come up behind us to see what was going on) a big hug and shook Abe’s hand, as if we were old friends and had all just shared in the most bonding of experiences.

These slates are handpainted on hurricane debris. This particular slate comes from 91 East Bay St., built in 1787, and painted by Jeanne Drucker.

These slates are handpainted on hurricane debris. This particular slate comes from 91 East Bay St., built in 1787, and painted by Jeanne Drucker.

We all parted ways at that point, and I am so regretful that I didn’t think to take a picture with them! I would have treasured a photo of me, this little short white girl, with this towering, laughing, dark, fatherly man. He really exuded Love. Their names are Al and Pamela Campbell, but I can’t seem to find them online. . .maybe they were true angels. This was such an experience for me, not because of the exquisite gift, but because of the instant and joyful connection to people I wouldn’t normally have ever met. Really, a remarkable and cherished happening.

My slate come from #91,The Inglis Arch House; in this painting , it's the large pink house in the middle.

My slate come from #91,The Inglis Arch House; in this painting , it’s the large pink house in the middle.

Truly, these are Joyful Journeys, and I look forward to finding just the right moment to pass along a new Random Act of Kindness to someone else.

I hope you enjoy the rest of the pre-Christmas week, Sensenigs!

~Kelli

Happy Holidays!

Our little tree in our little home.

Our little tree in our little home.

Dear Lincolns,

To answer your question, yes! We do decorate for the holidays. We have our little tree that we bought last year when we were in Texas during the Christmas season. We love making ornaments, baking and adding all sorts of festive decor as we get closer to Christmas Day. It is definitely a fun time of the year for us! Last year we made gingerbread RV, which was fun! This year, the kids are trying to convince me to make a gingerbread tardis and I have to admit, I am a little intimidated by the thought of putting that together. Stay tuned to see how it all turns out!

You were making me very tired as I was reading all that you have been doing in the Charleston, SC area! It all sounds amazing and I’m so glad you are enjoying your time there. It is beautiful and amazing. Finding raw milk can be tricky in this area of the country, but it can be found! I’m glad you found a connection…

We are wrapping up some things here in VA and looking forward to seeing family at a few holiday celebrations, but also looking toward what’s to come in 2015. Hopefully, lots of opportunities for music and new ventures…and meeting up with the Lincolns!

Seriously, I do wish safe travels to you this winter and if our paths do cross, I will be one happy lady!

Joyful Journeys to you!

Christy

Holiday cheer!

Yes, so disappointed that our rendezvous didn’t work out this time. Those teen-temperatures were too much for us, too, and we headed to the coast post haste from Asheville. We’ll make it happen, never worry! 🙂

So we’re in Charleston now, and it’s wonderful here! This is the longest we’ve stayed in one place since our month in Trinidad, CA, and slowing down has been excellent. Moving every week (or twice a week) gets really tiring, as fun as it is to see so many new places. It’s a treat to settle down a bit and feel some normalcy. We’ve been here for about three and a half weeks now and feel like we’ve become residents! We now have a vet here (for the dog), and a dentist (for two of us), we’ve found a supply of raw milk at a barber shop (love the Raw Milk Underground, haha!), found plantains at a small latin market and cleaned out the japchae noodles in a going-out-of-business asian market, been to a minor league hockey game (and adopted the team – go Stingrays!), celebrated two birthdays and our first Thanksgiving on the road, bought new furniture (a new bed and a new loveseat), been to the dump (to get rid of the old ones), found a green dry cleaners for the sleeping bags, fit in driving practice for Rhanna, toured Historic Downtown twice, Boone Hall Plantation, Charles Pinckney Historic Site, Fort Sumter Visitor Center, Folly Beach, the Angel Oak, and many graveyards downtown, swapped out kids’ clothes at a local consignment shop (three of the kids have grown over an inch in the last month!), finished handmade holiday gifts for close friends and about 25 dolls for the Etsy shop and been to the post office with a ton of packages after a successful sale, decorated for the holidays, and received an amazing ROAK gift from a complete stranger. And we still have a few more things on our list to see before we leave next week! If, several months ago, you had told me that Charleston would be one of our favorite hometowns, I’d never have believed it. 🙂

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Just a snapshot from my phone, but you get the idea. 🙂

Today we finished a mile of holiday paper chains and about a hundred snowflakes, so it’s looking festive in here. After living in the Sierras for so long, we really miss snow in Wintertime, so lots of paper flakes is what we have here in SC. 😉 We may get a little tree or something when we move to Savannah next week, we’ll have to see. Did you guys get a tree or do any holiday decorating?

Joyful Journeys, my friends!

~Kelli

Sad That We Missed You!

Dear Lincolns,

Our timing was impeccable and we missed crossing paths with you! The weather was a huge factor as we were having too many nights below freezing and needed to escape the cold temps, but another factor was our need to find a better deal on a campground rate and actually use our Thousand Trails membership that we pay for each month! We were disappointed, however, to not meet you all in person. We have a feeling it will happen, when the timing is just perfect.

Forest Lake Campground in NC

Forest Lake RV Resort in NC

After leaving the Tri-Cities area of East Tennessee, we ventured into NC and landed in the Triad area (near Winston-Salem). We had some very warm days, some not-so-warm days, but all in all a welcomed retreat from the colder temps of the higher elevations. We are now currently back in Southwest VA, which is actually considered part of the Tri-Cities region as well, but further east than we were before. We are trying out a new campground that sits on the New River and is in walking distance to many walking trails, including the Virginia Creeper Trail and the Appalachian Trail. (We’re looking forward to writing more about that later!)

The view from our site of the New River---love how the fog just rests on the mountain! Peaceful.

The view from our site of the New River—love how the fog just rests on the mountain! Peaceful.

We are taking in some family time, time with friends and trying to find those spots that we have never seen before, just to spice things up a bit!

We are hoping that you are enjoying some warmth where you are, assuming  that you are still on the SC coastline! So much history there! We know you are all taking it all in. We are looking forward to hearing about it all!

Have a Joyful Journey, friends!

The Sensenigs

Catching up to you!

Dear Sensenigs,

We are creeping up on you, and looking forward to catching up with you next week for a real-person-meetup! We have been enjoying our foray into the South immensely. Everyone we met in Kentucky was delightful, and our journey into Tennessee was gorgeous. The leaves are mostly fallen from the trees, but it’s wonderful to be back in the embrace of a mountainous terrain. During our mostly back-country-roads-trip Rhanna and I were squealing that were were never going to leave, although entering the trafficky highways and repellent kitschy towns outside of Knoxville has helped us curb our enthusiasm. It’s all about location!! Let’s leave it at that! hahaha

Our time in Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana, and Kentucky was spent researching genealogy. I’ve been working on our family trees for the last several years, and it’s been a dream of mine to actually visit the places our ancestors lived, not to mention courthouses, archives, and the cemeteries where they now rest. I had some great successes and some disappointments as well, but overall it’s been an amazing experience! Some census records indicate specific addresses, so I was able to stand on the streets of my great-great-great grandparents in Minnesota, and in Iowa, we found the actual house that Abe’s 4xgreat-grandparents built, and were able to speak with the current owners, In Indiana, we stayed in a campsite just on the Ohio River, and as I researched land grants during the week, I found out that we were actually living just five miles down the road from where my paternal ancestors lived in the 19th century! Getting to experience their homeland (especially in the beautiful season of Autumn) was such a gift. I have increased my genealogy binder by about 2 pounds with new research, but (and I never thought I’d say this) I need a little break before breaking it down and getting it organized. I’m family-historied-OUT! Temporarily. 😉

Kel Marshall MNGwyn Jones Cemetery Kel Morse Cemetery

Today is warm and sunny, so we’re splitting our time between playing outside and having a baking day to fill the freezers with goodies for the coming week. There’s a resident blue heron down the street from us, so we’ll walk down to the river to give her a visit this afternoon, too.

Hope to see y’all soon! 😀

Joyful Journeys to you!

~Kelli

 

 

Autumn in East Tennessee

Dear Lincolns,

Happy 4 month nomadiversary! I was trying to remember where we were on our 4 month, which was in April of 2013. We were where we are right now! In East Tennessee! We must like it here! I know that feeling of always being in learning mode….we’re still there, almost 2 years into it. I think I really love that about fulltiming. It is a continual learning experience, whether it is about the rig, the weather, the people or the places. Learning continues to happen!

Speaking of weather…we have seen our share of the variety that weather brings. And yes, tornados included. We got out of Nebraska as quickly as possible over those suckers! Not my favorite. The snow in VA and TN, probably my 2nd least favorite. It is just not fun to drive an RV in that icy, snowy mess…. Although, playing in it is a totally different story. Lots of joy and laughter can be found in playing the white stuff, especially if you can come back inside to a warm cup of tea! I know that Hannah is looking forward to playing in it this year. Oh and by the way, if Hannah finds out you have a weather radio, she will be your best friend. She lives to find out what the weather is doing each day!

As for now, the beginning of Autumn is showing it’s colors to us. Last week, we saw just a few peeks of yellow over the lake near our campground and today we noticed more orange and red coming out. Next week will be even better, I am sure. It is nice to be able to watch all the colors emerge this year. Last year, we were in Texas at this time and we didn’t get to see any colors until late October in PA, which was amazingly beautiful and vivid.

View from our site in East Tennessee

View from our site in East Tennessee

The temperatures are very mild here. In fact, today was in the low 80’s. We are enjoying it while we can! Nights are chilly, but not like you are experiencing! I hope you guys are staying toasty warm. Snuggling close helps, for sure…and electric blankets!

I love the picture you shared and I can’t wait to see more as you journey on!

Joyful Journeys, my friend!

~Christy

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