Category Archives: Vacations

Biscuit and Sausage Gravy Day!

September 28th, 2010
It’s biscuit and sausage gravy day! A few years ago on our annual pilgrimage to Florida we came across this delish and delightful dish called biscuits and sausage gravy. It’s high in every kind of fat and makes me feel sick for days, but it’s so yummy.
It smells like bacon and milk fat and makes your mouth water. My body does not like fat, especially milk fat, and the combination of these two has me doubled over with cramps post-eating. I can’t wait.
We’re heading into Cairo in hopes of finding biscuits and sausage gravy. It seems like just the place to find a southern delicacy. I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures of the town and the meal.
We watched Bed of Roses last night since we couldn’t watch the Green Bay Game. We even drove up to the lodge to see the game, but the staff said they lost power earlier today and didn’t have all their channels. ESPN was the only station they didn’t have, to my great disappointment.
We did check the internet and discovered our wedding made it into the local paper. Good friends of Brent’s parents, George & Heather Duma were guests at our wedding. George wrote an amazing article in the InPort News. I recently discovered that Mr Duma is the retired editor of the Tribune and still writes a column called “By George” which is regionally syndicated. (I hope I didn’t get any of this wrong George!)
There was a romantic picture of us, Poco & Taz and Brent’s parents. The wind was making our dresses dance. I love that in the picture both Ellen and I are looking at Poco and Poco is looking at us. It’s lovely. George said the wedding was beautiful, magical, romantic and emotional without being over the top.
For us, the wedding was beautiful and we’re happy to have friends and family to celebrate. There was a moment when we were exchanging rings that I forgot about everyone, but Brent. I think that was magic. I felt like a Princess, and since Brent is the Prince of Long Beach, I finally have my throne. LOL… You can still call me Amy.
Back to our movie last night: Bed of Roses. It’s an old 80’s flick with Christian Slater and Mary Stewart Maesterson. It’s a love story, a sickly sweet romantic love story and since we in the mood for honeymoon romance we held hands and kissed through the movie. Much like a pair of kids.
The movie was so romantic we resorted to some play fighting that we both thought would lead to… sleeping. We fell asleep surrounded by puppies still holding hands. We’re like an old pair of kids.

Escaping West Virginia

Escaping West Virginia is not as easy as it sounds with our four year old GPS. We left the North Bend State Park, which is idyllically located in the middle of nowhere. Access to the park was treacherous at best, but Brent managed to navigate our huge truck and trailer around and up and down the peaks and valleys of the Appalachian Mountains.

After a short stent on a paved road the GPS told us to turn right onto a gravel road. This is okay as plenty of roads in WV are gravel that we’ve travelled. When the road turned to dirt we got nervous and when this road was growing grass we were terrified. On the passanger’s side was a two foot rail made of natural trees the size of the truck tire and on the driver’s side was vegetation so close that some was caught in the awing arms when we finally escaped. We did finally escape.

We came to the end of the road with a no non-sense vehicle barrier that would hold in a rhino. With no place to turn around we both started swearing. Viciously. Brent threatened the GPS to within an inch of it’s life and I started giggling. We were going to have to back out of here.

I grabbed the video camera and jumped out to help guide Brent. He was still cursing as he starting going backwards. A mile later we found a possible spot to turn around our thirty-two foot trailer. We were losing time by the buckets, but I couldn’t help but laugh and Brent started laughing too.

Of course, Brent didn’t really start laughing until we’d turned around and were heading out of this Texas Chainsaw inspired back road complete with dilapidated buildings and frightening pit bulls tied at the ends of sturdy chains.

As soon as we escaped from this trail the GPS advised us to turn right again on a gravel road. I looked at Brent with a smile and a nod “have you learned nothing?” I asked.

He laughed and started off down the gravel road with these words echoed in my head “it’s only two miles”. Yikes.

We saw many interesting dwellings created with a mobile home base and often held up with an old tractor on our gravel road out to highway fifty. Every time I’d get nervous Brent would say stuff like “look they have hydro, so a hydro truck must come down these roads on occassion.” I felt oddly reassured as the dust kicked up and we watched a man digging a hole in his front lawn with an ancient backhoe.

“Where do they get their equipment?” Brent asked every time we saw a track loader or a beautiful four wheel drive tractor parked next to the double wide.

We were silent as we turned onto our first paved road in several days. As the mountains and valleys fell behind us and we reached the flats of western New York and were comforted to be close to home, yet sad that our Honeymoon adventure was coming to a close.

One Week Anniversary!

September 25, 2010
Just for the record: I was having a nap at four o’clock today, exactly one week ago when we were married. Wow. Married. Do all newly married folks wake up in the morning and go… “holy crap. We’re married?” I still do. Given my occupation, I’m eternally grateful to be surprised and extra happy that Brent is the dude who can still shock.
We woke surprised because we thought it was still raining, but the sun was shining through a perfect blue sky. We expected rain. We were told there might be some lingering showers, but it was not meant to be in the little valley of Greenbo, Kentucky.
We rose and drank coffee with baileys excited about the day’s adventures. First order was a good kayak. We took all three puppies and started paddling towards the lodge four and a half miles uphill if you went by foot or car. Much shorter by water.
Gizmo found a great spot inside the kayak and out of the sun with the cool plastic on his belly, while Taz sat on the top of the kayak barking at the hikers along the water’s edge. Poco sat in his captain’s position with Brent. Excellent.
It took us an hour to paddle to the lodge and then we hiked around the lodge. We found the pool – empty. We found the waterside – dry. We continued our trek until we came to an empty parking lot protected by a pair of white ducks. I hope Mr & Mr Smith are doing well.
We had an hour paddle back and were encouraged by our hunger as breakfast was ages ago. Back at the trailer we ate sausage, potatoes with carrots and green pepper. Brent had to have a couple of melty cheese sandwiches to really fill up after the bowl of sausage. A short nap later and we decided to go for a hike.
We thought a short hike after kayaking would do nicely. We left the campsite before five in the afternoon and two hours later found ourselves lost in Greenbo State Park somewhere in the hills of the Appalachian mountains of Kentucky.
We worried a little as the sun began to set and the dogs walked slower and slower. We ended up carrying Taz and Gizmo at times during the heavy uphill climbs. We didn’t intend to hike so far, but we were talking and got lost. No map. No GPS. No nothing.
At one point Brent said “you have to get lost to find yourself sometimes.” I don’t disagree, but I didn’t feel particularly lost at this point in my life. I don’t think he appreciated my sentiment.
We had a few bottles of water and some apples. The dogs had food and the desire to run. The first two hours were incredibly beautiful, but nearing the sun setting and the trails getting dark we were getting nervous.
We managed to find our way back to camp just before eight in the evening. Tired and hungry we fell upon a package of hot dogs and destroyed it. The veggies and some fruit were our next victims until we felt mildly satisfied.
A little campfire talk later and we were headed for the public showers. Brent should be back soon and it’s time I finished my third glass of wine.
What a busy day and still waiting for the chocolate cake. Our biggest decision is whether to stay another day in Kentucky or head to West Virginia for some Smokey Mountains??
The dogs are out cold. Their little legs aren’t even running in sleep because they ran too much on our hike. Taz only fell off the kayak once today… kayaking can be dangerous.
It did cool down to eighty-five today. Last night we slept with the air conditioning and tonight we have a little heater going. Life changes so quickly.

Public Showers


I’d like to talk briefly about public showers. Staying at a campground comes with many wonderful benefits, but hooking up to full sewer is something we’re not willing to spend $12 extra dollars a night on. We’ll use the public showers… plus our hot water tank is not big enough to support a ten minute shower. I can barely wash my hair, but it’s a fair trade off to have a shower rather than no shower at all.
Public showers: often dirty, frequently busy and with many drawbacks, but much like country music I love them.
I love them for their unlimited hot water. I love them for their high water pressure that does not change when several toilets are flushed at once. I was covered in suds in the public shower and heard two toilets flush and couldn’t help but do a little dance to celebrate the public shower as neither the pressure or water temperature changed.
Having said that I managed to drop my fresh underwear in the water pooled on the floor. I worry about foot fungus and the many people who have been naked where I’m currently standing.
Still… I don’t have to clean this shower. I can take a full twenty minutes with unchanging water pressure and temperature. As a farm girl raised on limited water, even more limited water pressure and super limited water temperature I can tell you the joy I feel at using a shower where even if I wash my hair AND shave my legs I can still luxuriate in minutes more of hot water and pressure.
I guess it’s perspective. I don’t have unlimited water at home to play, so these public showers are a little like a gift with the exception of strangers pooping in the stall next to you and my short walk back in the rain, but hey… nothing is perfect.

Honeymoon Adventures

September 22, 2010
It’s nearly ten at night on September 22, 2010 and we’re five days post-wedding. After extensively cuddling a Gizmo Brent has settled into reading his book and I’ve decided to write about the days adventures. We used my sister’s gift of a charcoal grill to barbecue some steaks and shrimp. Along with a bottle of red wine we enjoyed our meal outside with only the sound of the katydids to keep us company.
It was an adventurous day. It took us about forty minutes to tear down and get ready to drive. It poured rain as we emptied our waste in the dump station, but it didn’t dampen our spirits. We headed south west toward the Kentucky border with coffee in our bellies and joy in our hearts.
We were two hours in when an F350 towing a huge fifth wheel pulled up beside us and gestured upwards. We pulled over at the next exit and found we were one kayak short. We finished fuelling and headed back east in search of our little sea kayak.
We found the little orange mess just west of a bridge on the interstate and had to go up two miles to the next exit and turn around in hopes of a quick retrieval. About a mile away from the exit we saw a state trooper and became more nervous about the trouble we could be in for having an unsafe load and causing an accident. We were grief-stricken at the thought that our naughty kayak may have caused harm.
Luckily the trooper paid us no attention as we casually drove by and headed towards our orange beauty laying in the grassy median between the four lanes of traffic of the interstate. Like an insane pair of teens we raced out of the truck and before I could get around to the side Brent had thrown the damaged kayak into the bed of the truck and was already heading to the driver’s seat screaming “get in. Get in wife!”
We raced away and couldn’t stop until we were hours away from the scene of the crime. As we examined the kayak we were grateful it hadn’t caused an accident. Our flying kayak had only damaged itself with a few scrapes and two dents that righted themselves as we travelled in the ninety-five degree heat.
Phew. Thank goodness I took that vow to be Brent’s willing adventurer and partner in cahoots.
We stopped in Columbus, Ohio for human and puppy supplies before continuing our trek south west to a four hundred acre public park on the Kentucky / Ohio border. We were fifteen minutes south of Columbus when the wind picked up and debris started flying across the road. Weird. The sky went black and the rain began to fall.
I said to Brent “this looks like tornado weather”. He laughed. Five minutes later the local radio station made the emergency broadcast warnings with the loud blaring beeps. We look at each other in shock as we listened to the broadcast of the tornado warning for Columbus and areas east.
The storm was heading east at thirty-five miles an hour and we were heading south west at sixty miles per hour. We were out running it, but just barely. It was exciting to see the funnel clouds in the distance and watch the sky turn an eerie grey-green colour. We were exhilarated as the electricity heated up the air to ninety and then drop the outside air to seventy in less than five minutes. We raced out of the path of the storm.
Still riding the high of the intense storm we travelled along the rural road for several hours without much thought. I started to realize we’ve been thirty minutes away from our destination for nearly two hours. What?
It was the snaky roads with fifteen mile an hour curves and fifteen percent grades up and down hill that caused us to slow. Brent missed a turn and it added fifteen minutes and an adventurous endeavour onto a dirt path that was barely wide enough to support our truck and thirty-two foot trailer.
We finally arrived at Long Family Resort, but couldn’t find any staff. It said they were open till ten and it was only eight, but there was nobody around. We searched and search and finally decided to find our own camping spot.
We examined the public map of the facility and decided on a spot by the creek far from the office. The creek was dry, but the shore power was on as was the water. Jackpot!
We fired up our charcoal grill and barbecued some steak and shrimp. I made some red wine potatoes in the microwave that surprised us both to create a lovely meal. Brent was in charge of shopping and somehow forgot the veggies… again. Don’t worry as apples, peaches and grapes were our travel snacks.
We ate our dinner and started a lovely fire to enjoy the evening. We’re both a little nervous about “stealing” a site, but we promise to pay in the morning.
We’re deciding where we want to travel to tomorrow. Kansas City, MO or do we head towards the two thousand acre state park on the Kentucky / Indiana Border? Brent is suggesting we head towards Beckley, WV and find a spot in the mountains.
I know tomorrow comes with be another great adventure. I hope we get internet soon, so I can post some of these stories.
I finished my quick five minute shower and I’m incredibly grateful to have washed my hair. It’s Brent’s turn to enjoy the hot water and I can’t help but giggle as I see him running around the trailer in his nudies. It’s okay because we’re married now! Ha ha…
New Blog! September 23rd, 2010.
Happy Birthday Lisa! I didn’t forget… I just don’t have any cell or internet reception!!!
We woke this morning to the sounds of jet planes. It was so loud and disturbing that we decided that this campground was not the spot to spend several days. The sad dried up creek bed and lack of occupants was not enough on it’s own to have us leaving, but the sound of construction (someone was building a deck on their trailer about one hundred feet from where we had parked) and the jet planes helped convince us it was time to move on. .
After a quick coffee we packed up and headed south east into Kentucky. We noticed an immediate change in the vegetation and the housing. There seemed to be thousands of dilapidated mobile homes in rural southern Ohio. The area seemed so depressed and depressing, but as soon as we crossed the bridge to Kentucky the world was greener and the houses had foundations and basements.
We used the AAA camp book and picked out Greensbo State Resort and Park – a 33,000 acre state park in the north east corner of Kentucky that boasted a whopping sixty trailer sites with electricity and water. We found a lovely shady corner around one in the afternoon and set up.
In our area there were only six other trailers and our spot was on top of a hill. We had a heck of a time levelling the trailer and even moved it sideways so our door faced the woods before we were satisfied.
Once set up we decided to ride our bikes the half mile to the ranger station to pay our bill for three nights ($63 – for all three nights including tax). It took a while to set up and hook up the dog trailer and the basket that goes on the front of the bike. Taz and Gizmo love the trailer ride and Poco enjoys his perch from the basket. I think I’d gone about two hundred feet when my rear tire blew. I pushed the bike including trailer and Poco in the basket back to our site. Site fifty-one.
We jumped in the truck and drove out to the ranger station stopping along the way to watch a new trailer owner try and back into a spot. After several tries she pulled around on the grass and made it a drive-through. We smiled as she laughed and waved on our way by.
Once paid up we drove across the street to check out the lake. It was huge and we can’t wait to drop our kayaks in for a paddle tomorrow. I imagine we’ll go for a hike after our wine, but for now it’s time to relax and maybe take a nap. We’ve decided to stay until at least Sunday that way we beat the weekend rush and can really enjoy some paddling and hiking. Hopefully we can get a new tire for my bike tomorrow.
It’s now four thirty and we’re having a glass of wine. Brent is reading and I’m writing. Too bad there’s no internet, but looking at the green trees and enjoying the ninety degree heat I can’t say that I mind.
We’ve finally found a spot we can sit and stay for a spell. Maybe we’ll move on Monday or maybe we’ll stay longer. It’s a lovely spot and it’s wonderful to know we’ve found a great spot for a few days of outdoor adventures. I hope the weather is with us! No more tornados!
It’s just after eleven at night and we’ve had our fair share to drink tonight knowing we aren’t going to have drive in the morning. With excessive drinking usually comes injury and we’re no exception. I was stepping over the little two foot fence we have for the puppies and I stuck my foot right into this steel contraption Brent bought to help start the coals on fire. I have a six inch laceration on my left ankle to prove my agility. These things happen. I’m not complaining too much, other than it really hurts!
When we searched for my shoe we found it inside the metal device. Woohoo… I did a good job.     
p.s… we never did find anyone this morning at the other campground… Oops…