Monday, May 25, 2015

Drive In The Correct Lane

One of my pet peeves is what I call left laners, or middle laners for that matter.  When I was learning to drive, you only moved from the right lane to pass someone and now, it is the lane with the least traffic, especially on roads with three or more lanes.  So I was very happy to see this signage form Rhode Island.


Click on the shot to enlarge.

Traffic moves better and it is safer if everyone would abide by this - there would be a whole lot less darting form lane to lane - think about it.

Thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South and hope you've had a great Memorial Day weekend.

Larry

Monday, May 18, 2015

Two Rivers Landing RV Park - Low Country Boil

Our RV club had it’s May rally at the Two Rivers RV Resort in Sevierville, TN but we were unable to attend due to a previous commitment.  We were available on Sunday and the rally hosts invited us to come up for the day for a repeat of the low country boil we made at last year’s rally in the Charleston, SC area.

Before discussing the meal, here’s a little about the park beginning with a shot from Google Earth.


As you can see, it sits on the French Broad River with 55 sites – 25 pull-ins on the river and 30 back-ins with a river view – so all of the coach fronts face the river.  They had such good photos on their website, I decided to use them rather than take my own





This is such a nice place, I hate we missed out camping here, especially in that end site parallel to the river.  For comparison, the nightly rate for the riverfront sites here is $65, the highest rate at Anchor Down is $69





and the rate for the KOA in Mt. Pleasant, SC is $70.



I guess it's all about location, competition, and the KOA name as this site is not in the same league as the other two.


And now back to the rally.  We made the hour and ten minute drive and spent the afternoon visiting with club members before firing up the big pot.  Using Zaterain's Pro Boil as the spice, we cooked up a batch of Low Country Boil of red potatoes, kielbasa, corn, and shrimp and dumped it on the butcher paper covered tables for the 15 hungry eaters. These shots are at the end of the meal as the piles of food have pretty much disappeared..




Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.The meal was a hit and we enjoyed spending time with our club friends.

Larry

5/17/15 event date

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

RV Trip Leg Two – Charleston, SC

I had previously posted about our first stop on this trip at Anchor Down RV Resort and from there we made a return trip to the KOA in Mt. Pleasant, SC, where we hosted a rally last year.  This re-visit was made because we enjoyed the area but mostly because SIL, Pat, couldn’t go last year.

We decided to stay in the same place as we liked being on the Mt. Pleasant side of Charleston and the things that area had to offer without going into or thru downtown Charleston.  There are some other nice campgrounds around but the nicer ones are south of town.

This is our site facing the nice boomerang shaped lake.




We ate two meals at one of our favorite places – Page’s Okra Grill – and these are shots of our breakfast meals.

Pat had the Raspberry Waffle ($5.25) which she thought was just okay.


Bev had TJ’s Hot Mess (a split biscuit with southern fried chicken breast topped with scrambled eggs, pepper jack cheese and sausage gravy all for $6) and she had a side of pimento cheese smothered home fries ($3).


I got an even better shot of hers last year.



I had the Shem’s Creek Omelet (three eggs with scallops, shrimp, and pepper jack cheese) with pimento cheese grits ($9.60).


Both of our meals were very good, just as last year, and we all think their fried chicken may be the best we’ve eaten.  While the food was the same, after a couple of big time write-ups, they were much busier.  I can't say I ate seafood for every meal but counting leftovers for some lunch and breakfast meals, I was well over 50%.

While I relaxed and dog sat, the girls visited two farmers markets, spent one day shopping in Mt. Pleasant, and two days shopping in downtown Charleston – I’d rather take a flogging.

We also got to spend a very pleasant evening with old college friends Doug and Marty, during which I showed them how I make grilled Oysters Rockefeller and they showed us how to make their delicious no-filler crab cakes.

We did drive over to check out the Oak Plantation Campground, which we thought was very nice then drove down to Kiawah Island, which I had always wanted to see, only to discover that the entire town is a gated community.  At least it was a nice little drive through the Live Oaks and pines.

We made the trip back home in one nine hour drive and while I was tired, I’m happy to report that we had no engine failures this time.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.

Larry

4/24 - 5/4/2015 event dates

Saturday, May 2, 2015

2015 Blogger Party Cancelled

Hi All - While the list of potential attendees for this year’s get together was high on quality, it was very low on numbers so we will cancel for this year and see how things look next year.

Thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South


Larry

Thursday, April 23, 2015

On The Road Again To Dandridge, TN - Anchor Down RV Resort

After a three months layoff to finish up winter and do the outdoor spring chores, we’re back on the road again with a single trip to two destinations.  The second leg is a return trip to the Charleston, SC area and the first was to attend an RV rally at Anchor Down RV Resort near Dandridge, TN, which will be the subject of this post.

We belong to the Tennessee Travelers chapter of the FMCA and really enjoy getting together with this group of nearby RVer’s.  It’s nice to go on these trips where several things are planned for us and all we have to do is show up.

The Anchor Down RV Resort is on beautiful Douglas Lake which is near the Sevierville/ Pigeon Forge/ Gatlinburg part of Tennessee.  The resort is beginning their second year in operation and I have no problem calling it a RESORT instead of a campground as they have obviously poured the effort and money into it. 

While just a state route with little shoulder, I had no problem driving our coach on the road (TN-139) servicing the resort from Dandridge or Kodak.  This is the entrance to the resort and the office/store.





The resort is basically on a hillside ending at the lake and they have done an excellent job turning it into three fairly level camping areas with nearly level sites – no problem leveling our coach.  All sites are hard surfaced with plain or textured concrete and have a picnic table and fire ring or fireplace.  They have a full range of site types - pull-in, back-in, pull thru, and buddy.

I’ll begin with the upper area and work my way down the hill.  The upper area has 29 sites of varying sizes and types and an outstanding view from the ones facing the lake.




The middle area contains 109 sites of all types and this is the beginning of it - shot above shows much of it.


This is our site (#51) with shots of the view from our back of the lake and the sites up from us.





This is the view from my chair in the front of our rig with a coach in one of the buddy sites and after it departed.


Here are a couple of the other buddy sites, which I had not seen before, and are perfect for two coaches traveling together.


Lastly is the lower level which contains 33 sites, the nice sized pool and pool house, a boat dock, boat ramp, lake swimming area, and play area - the shot from the upper area (above) shows the sites.






This shot is from the pool house back up the hill.


Their rates are from $49 to $69 and include four people, rather than the more normal two.  As I mentioned at the beginning, this is not just a campground, but one of the nicest RV resorts we’ve stayed in and I believe it's only going to get better.

The check-in process was pleasant and efficient and everyone we met was very helpful and friendly.  The owners are hands-on with the wife running the office (she checked me in) and the husband handing the outside.  They are home builders who bought a farm on which to build a sub-division, but elected to build the resort instead.

I have heard only positive comments from the members of our 15 coach rally and if you are looking for a great place for a rally or an individual trip from which to visit the Smokies area and be on the lake, Anchor Down is well worth your consideration.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.

Larry

4/20-4/23/2015 event dates

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Homemade Beef Stock & Blogger Party Update

Well, I finally have something to post about.

We like to use homemade stocks when we can so when our neighbor offered us some beef bones we snapped them up.  I forgot to weigh the bones but this is the process I used.

1. Add the bones in a single layer, to a pan (12” cast iron skillet for me) and roast in a 400F oven for one hour.



2. Add the following to the pan and roast for another 30 minutes:
      3 carrots in 3” pieces
      3 celery stalks in 3” pieces
      1 large onion, quartered (or two small ones)
      1 garlic clove cut in half crosswise



3.Since the bones had some fat to start with, I had too much grease in the bottom of my skillet to deglaze and make the stock in it (without extra work), so I added everything to a stock pot, covered them with three quarts of hot water, added a lid, and simmered until the next morning (I added an additional quart of water at bedtime).
4. Using a slotted spoon, I removed as much of the solids to a bowl as I could then strained the stock, ending up with two quarts.
5. To get back to three quarts, I used the sink hose to spray the solids in the bowl and poured it through the strainer into the stock.
6. After cooling, it went into the fridge for the night to solidify the fat.



7. I used a spoon to remove the thin layer of fat and we ended up with three quart bags of very tasty stock for the freezer.



Notes:
1. Roasting is not a requirement but we like the extra richness it delivers.  We often make chicken stock without roasting.
2. While it sounds like a long process, it’s probably only about an hour’s work divided over a couple of days.
3. Sometimes we make it without the veggies, especially when we don’t roast the bones.  While I think the terms are interchangeable, I call the one with veggies "stock" and the other one "broth", that way I know what I’m using – this one will be labeled as “Roasted Beef Stock.”



Looks almost as good as the kind from a box doesn't it.  We then gave the bones back to the same neighbor for her dogs - too big for our guys mouths.

Blogger Party Update
As a follow up to the previous post, the 2015 rendition of our East Tennessee Blogger Party will be as follows:

Date: May 24
Time: 1:30pm
Place: Almost Heaven South, Greenback, TN
Theme: Tapas Party

We would love to have some first time attendees and if you plan to come, please let me know by May 1, via email at grandpop1@yahoo.com

Any additional info will be sent to the attendees in mid-May.

Please feel free to post this on your blog to increase our distribution.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.

Larry

4/4-4/5/2015 event dates

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

You May Want To Consider This

This may be the most enlightening thing I've ever thought about.


Thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.

Larry