Travels with Bentley

Travels with Bentley
Bentley - our Heartland Bighorn

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

August 31, 2015 - Picture Lake Campground, Petersville, VA; Sept 1, 6-7, 2015 - Greensboro, NC; Sept 2 - 4, 2015 - St. Louis, MO

August 31, 2015 – Picture Lake Campground, Petersburg, VA
We pulled into Picture Lake at approximately 3:30 this afternoon after driving since 9:00 this morning from Port Penn, Delaware.  Not only was it a tedious drive it was an expensive one.  I did not get a receipt for each toll stop but we think we spent somewhere around $40-50 on tolls from New York to North Carolina.  Needless to say we were pretty tired and a bit frazzled by the time we arrived.  It was by far the most tedious and anxious driving day for Dean of the entire trip.  We crossed the Chesapeake Bridge in Delaware, skirted Annapolis and Washington DC in Maryland, and routed around Richmond in Virginia. 
I was surprised there were so many corn and soybean fields in Delaware and Virginia.  You tend to think there would not be so much agriculture in an area with a lot of shipping, manufacturing and government activity. 
The bridges we have crossed have been interesting, especially the Chesapeake Bay Bridge from Delaware to Maryland.  As you enter the bridge there are three lanes, one lane is coming from Maryland on the left and you enter to the right side with two lanes.  Above each lane is a light showing a red or green X.  Red you do not enter (such as the left lane going the other way) and Green means it is okay to travel in that lane.  We were about half way across the bridge and traffic came pretty much to a stop.  This was nice for Dean as he could actually take his eyes off the road for a few minutes.  It was stop and go, stop and go for quite awhile and finally we could see everyone in the right lane was moving to the left lane.  We were afraid there might have been a wreck, but as we moved further along, there was a young lady in a small car with the tire entirely gone on the front driver's side.  She had evidently driven it as far as she could.  That lane was blocked off for the rest of our drive across the bridge.  We both really felt sorry for her.  Her are a few shots from the bridge.
Traffic flowing well as we start across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge from Delaware to Maryland.

Our sight from the middle of the bridge.


Whoa!  Here he we are in the middle of the bridge with traffic stopped.
All of the areas I mentioned we drove through were pretty heavy traffic areas and although Dean was exhausted when we arrived he did such a great job.  I’m not saying there weren’t some tense times in the truck between us, but truly he does a wonderful job.  He just gets a little tense in the heavier traffic and then sounds irritated with me which can sometimes tend to rile me up. 
Hopefully that will turn out to be the worse travel day and they only get better from here on out. 
We make frequent bathroom breaks - about every hour and about an hour or so from our destination Dean looked out the window and noticed the rubber seal that runs along the top of the slide on the driver's side of Bentley was looped and hanging down the side.  We stopped at the next rest stop and he had to put the slide out part way to work it back into the groove and get it back into place.

That problem is averted for now at least.
After maneuvering through all of that traffic we were so glad to see the exit that would take us to the campground.  We were fortunate to get a pull through site, #34 which made for an easy park versus having to go through the process of backing up. 

Unfortunately the site was a bit uneven and that took a bit of work to get everything in the right place.  I do have to say when I went inside you could tell this was also one of the roughest rides we have had.  I had more things move around on this trip than all of the others put together.  Some paper products came out of the back cabinet doors and the doors must have shut back because they were closed.  I had a pillow, which I pack tight around some items ended up on the floor in the living area, and a couple of other minor items were out of place.  At least the coffee pot was still on the cabinet. 
Dean told me he was ready for me to put out the slides and I started the process.  When the kitchen side went out it was fine and then all of a sudden a big thud like it dropped.  I stopped it and went outside.   I found this laying on the ground. 


Neither one of us know if it came out of Bentley or if it had been lying on the ground outside.  Before the slides were out it would have been at more of a distance from the RV and we may or may not have noticed it before.  Dean crawled under both sides and could not see anything similar on the other slide or where anything appeared to be missing on the side that made the noise.  Stressed out!!!!  That’s how we were feeling about that time.
I did go ahead and finish opening it with no problems.  We’ll see what happens in the morning when we get ready to leave and I put the slide in.
Once we settled in, I heated up taco soup for dinner and we just pretty much chilled out the rest of the evening.  It was nice to just relax.


September 1, 2015 - Greensboro, North Carolina
We slept in a bit this morning and didn’t get back on the road until about 10:30.  The slide came in without a hitch so we were relieved about that.  We did take the roller we found with us just in case.
We arrived in Greensboro, NC about 2:30.  We will be spending a few days here at one of my best friends.  Dede and I met 31 years ago at our first City Clerk’s Institute in Lawrence, KS.  We both became City Clerk’s in our respective cities in 1984 – Dede in Whitewater and I in Oswego.  We have remained friends even though her career has included a few changes and moves over the years.  We are fortunate enough to get to see each other every few years (since her parents and sisters still live in Whitewater—near Wichita) but it has typically been for very short time frames, as in a few hours here or there, so we are thrilled to get to spend some real one on one time with each other.
Michael (Dede’s husband) and Dede live next door to Michael’s mother.  She has a large pull through drive-way where we were able to park Bentley for our time here.  His mother is out of town for a week or two so we pretty much have her beautiful front yard as a private park. 
Dede made a wonderful dinner for us of venison steaks, a quinoa/butternut squash dish and salad for dinner.  It was very good and we sure appreciated the meal.
That night we stayed at Dede’s as it was pretty warm and we cannot run Bentley’s air conditioner with our generator.

September 2, 2015 – St. Louis, MO
We were up at 5 am this morning as we are catching a flight to St. Louis for the holiday weekend.  We will meet Dean's son, Brett and his wife Renae there.  A few hours after arriving late Wednesday afternoon we enjoyed spending the evening watching the St. Louis Cardinals play the Washington Nationals at Busch Stadium.  Unfortunately the Cards did not win but it was a lot of fun.

In the night I had to get up to make my normal middle of the night bathroom trip.  You have to turn the light on in order to see and I hate having the light on in the middle of the night.  As I came out of the bathroom, I quickly turned the light off and headed back to the bed.  All of a sudden something hit me right in the nose.  I forgot there was a short wall that came out further than the bathroom door and I ran right into in.  Talk about a surprise.  I cried out and woke Dean.  WOW! did that hurt.  I wear a mouthpiece and it cut the inside of my upper lip.  My nose is still slightly sore (Tuesday, September 15) but my lip has healed well.  So much for trying to walk in the dark going to bed!

September 3, 2015. – St. Louis, MO
While in St. Louis we ate at Zia’s on The Hill Thursday evening and oh my goodness was the food delicious!  I would definitely recommend this as a place to visit.  The white sauce on the pasta was the best I’ve ever had.  Everyone commented on how much they liked their food.  Brett and Renae had tried another Italian restaurant on another visit and they agreed  Zia’s was much better.  Thanks to Carol Eddington, my former co-worker who told me about this place years ago.  It was a winner!

September 4, 2015 – St. Louis, MO
Friday morning we headed to Grant’s Farm where we saw several Clydesdale horses.  Dean loves horses and has always wanted to see the Clydesdale’s so he really enjoyed this.  We took the tram on a ride around the park and enjoyed seeing the many animals around the farm.  We enjoyed walking around the village area and seeing the sights including a wonderful collection of wagons, buggies and fire apparatus. 


One of several Clydesdale's we saw.

Selfie on the tram ride around Grant's farm.

This historic rifle barrel fence runs along a Road near the Hardscrabble cabin. The fence was made from 2,563 rifle barrels that August A. Busch purchased from an armory in downtown St. Louis that was shutting down.

A camel near the village area.

Various buggies on display at Grant's farm.

After having a bite to eat at IMO Pizza, which we thought was pretty good, we decided to drive the Great River Road, or Highway 100, from Alton to Grafton, Illinois along the mighty Mississippi River.  What a beautiful and relaxing drive (once we found it!).  We enjoy being near the water and watching the boats come and go.  With it being the Labor Day weekend we noticed a lot of small boat traffic.  Fortunately the traffic on the River Road was not too bad.  However, driving back into St. Louis was no picnic, but it was still better than the traffic from Delaware through Richmond. 

Many limestone formations along the route.
The Mighty Mississippi!

Two barges working their way up the river.

Our drive back, where I have better shots of the river.

One of the barges we saw that were together on the way up the river.
One of the many pleasure boats we saw on the river gearing up for Labor Day weekend.

More of the beautiful limestone bluffs along this drive.

The site as we enter Alton, IL from the north.  Interesting entrance to town.

The bridge that took us across the river to St. Louis, MO.


September 5, 2015 – St. Louis, MO
Saturday morning we drove downtown to the arch and even though we did not tour the grounds or take the ride to the top we enjoyed taking a selfie with it and just seeing the buildings and people in the downtown area.  There was a big blues festival going on so we headed out before it got too busy. 
The old courthouse across from the Arch.  Isn't this flag beautiful?
Selfie.  Hard looking into the sun!
The Arch is beautiful but wasn't too inviting with all of the construction going on.
Very interesting read. 
A few of the downtown buildings.
Old courthouse.  It is a beautiful structure.
Another downtown building.

 We decided to move from the Courtyard by Marriott near downtown to a LaQuinta today so we would be close to the airport in the morning when we will head back to North Carolina.
We have noticed several advertisements for the new Robert Redford and Nick Nolte movie “A Walk in the Woods”. Since it was so hot outside today we decided we should get inside where it was cool for a while.  This was such a good movie.  We laughed so much during this show – more than most we have seen in a very long time.  These two guys were really great together.  I have to admit it’s the first time we’ve gone to a movie where we felt like we were definitely getting older.  It’s kind of like going to Branson and seeing all the “white hairs”.  Guess we are almost there.  LOL!
We found a Bandana’s BBQ nearby for dinner.  I had eaten at one of these restaurants in Springfield, MO a few years ago and it was just as delicious tonight. 

September 6, 2015 – St. Louis, MO
Sunday morning we were up and ready to head to the airport by 7:00 so we could return our car and have time to eat some breakfast at the airport.  We had a good flight back although the first leg of the trip we could not sit next to each other.  I sit next to a woman who was originally from St. Louis and was returning home to Virginia.  We had a nice visit.  If you have to sit next to someone else it’s nice when you enjoy their company.
We arrived back at Dede’s about 5 that evening.  We headed straight to Bentley.  We had left the refrigerator on gas (propane) while we were gone but I had a weird feeling we needed to check it when we got back.  Yep, the refrigerator was not on.  We think it had probably just quit earlier that day as there was no smell at all, but we threw almost everything away – unless it did not have to be refrigerated to begin with.  Our batteries had run down.  I guess that was due to the constant kicking on and off during the hot weather they had while we were gone.  Anyway, Dede and Michael were kind enough to let us plug into his mom’s electric on her front porch so we could have basic electric service. 
Dede is an excellent cook and tonight she made homemade chicken noodle soup.  It was delicious.  We enjoyed spending the evening visiting.  The guys ran over to a friend of Michael's for a visit in his man cave so we had a very nice evening relaxing and visiting.
The temperatures here in Greensboro have dropped enough that it was pretty comfortable sleeping.  We were tired after our weekend and had no problem falling asleep.

September 6, 2015 – Greensboro, NC
Monday Dede fixed us a wonderful breakfast.  After we cleaned up the breakfast dishes, Dean and Michael announced they had things they were going to do today so Dede and I could spend the day together.   I could not have been more pleased to have a whole day with my dear friend.  We headed downtown to check out some local stores but they were mostly closed for Labor Day, including their Costco store.  We enjoyed a drive through the downtown area and when we saw this we had to stop and check it out.  What a neat idea!
Sign says:
Lend a ladder!  build a Community!

More ladders.
I enjoyed our time together driving around downtown Greensboro.  We then took a walk through a couple of public gardens.  We saw this beautiful statue in the park.  While most of the flowers were past their peak both parks were still quite beautiful with very nice trails. 

Beautiful statue in one of the parks we visited.
We stopped for lunch at a little Thai restaurant that was quite good.  It was my first experience eating tofu.  It was alright - not bad - but different.  We headed back to Dede’s and visited for the afternoon.  At about 5 or so we decided we needed to get a few things for dinner from the grocery store.  While we were checking out Michael called to say he and Dean were going to his friend Ray’s house tonight to hang out so Dede and I just snacked on fruit, cheese, deer liver pate’, hummus and crackers.  Pretty darn good and was plenty filling for me.  I thoroughly enjoyed spending the day with my friend.   This little saying is so true for the friends in our lives that we do not have the chance to see as much as we used to and certainly fits my friendship with Dede.

Good friends
are like stars
You don't always see them
but you know they're always there!
The guys returned about 10, and we all visited for another hour or so before Dean and I headed to Bentley. 

Bentley parked next door at Michael's mother's circle drive.

Michael's mother's home was beautiful and we sure appreciated such a nice spot to park.
I cannot believe that I failed to take a picture of us together!  Too busy talking and catching up.  We had such a great time and so enjoyed their hospitality.  Hope we see each other again soon!, and that we have the opportunity to return the favor when they are in our neck of the woods.


(September 16 Update:  We are currently in Kenards, SC, about an hour north of Columbia, SC.  We will be here for 2 more days.  I have lots of pictures to download to the blog from our visit to Asheville, NC and it is slow going, which is part of the reason I am so far behind.  This park does have Wi-Fi so that helps as I was eating up our hotspot data pretty quick.  I hope to catch up soon.)

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