Friday, October 19, 2018

2018 October RV Rally – Sevierville, TN

As I mentioned in my previous post, we came to River Plantation RV Resort two days early for the Tennessee Travelers Rally and as it turned out, two other coaches also came in a day early and Pat drove up to join us – she had not gone with us to get the coach serviced.

We had planned to have grilled brats (from the Wurst Kitchen of course) with kraut and mashed potatoes and since we had seven sausages, we invited the other early arrivals to join us – I had planned to cook all of the sausages anyway so we just made more potatoes.

Four this meal, I like to dress my potatoes just like the brat with kraut and mustard and some other the others were pleasantly surprised when they tried it.  Sorry but I took no meal shots.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Coach Maintenance and RV Rally

After a month at home doing various fall chores, we got back on the road for a two stop trip.

I get the RV chassis serviced once a year following the Freightliner service recommendation and since it was due for a big five year service which includes transmission and coolant system I decided to take it to the Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp (FCCC) service center in Gaffney, SC.  I figured these folks are likely to do a fine job since they service these chassis all day, every day.

This is the service center with six bays (three on the other side) and the coaches lined up for the day with us in the last shot. 

Our appointment was for 8am on Friday so we drove over to Gaffney on Thursday and pulled into one of their 20 camping sites with 50 amp electric but no water or sewer which was no issue. 

That evening we went to Daddy Joe’s Beach House and Grill for supper where we got large portions of good food and at reasonable $10.95 price.  

I had a combo of chopped BBQ and Calabash Chicken with sides of baked beans and wedge fries along with hush puppies and while I didn’t get a shot my meal looked like this one with chicken in place of the wings.

Bev said she enjoyed her Calabash Chicken and Calabash Shrimp with potato salad and slaw – Calabash Style means lightly breaded but it seemed like a normal amount to me.

After servicing on Friday, the coach was returned to the site and we spent another night before heading to Sevierville, TN on Sat.

The service cost was $1368 + tax with labor to service the chassis and generator being $650 at $100/hr (actually cheaper than taking it to a dealer) and materials account for the rest of the cost (fluids were $438). 

So we are all serviced for a year but unfortunately they found a small oil leak from the engine which we’ll need to attend to when we get home. 

Since we stayed both the night before and after the service, we had an entire day to kill and several hours with no coach, so we opted for a factory tour.  Gaffney is not only home to the service center but also the factory for FCCC, where they assemble chassis for school buses and delivery vans (think UPS) as well as motor homes for several brands - about 50,000 chassis/year.

FCCC is a sub-division of Freightliner which is owned by Daimler, the German company that also owns Mercedes Benz and Smart Car.  The factory uses very modern and highly efficient manufacturing practices to make their high quality products and as an old plant guy I found the tour very interesting and even Bev said she enjoyed it.

Then we drove about 10 miles north to the site of the Revolutionary War Battle Site at Cowpens.  It is a National Battlefield Park requiring no admission.  It is basically just a visitors center and a field with not much in it that I saw and while it was an important battle for the Americans, I don’t quite see the need to spend money on a place that seems to slowly be taken over by trees.

The main reason for scheduling the service appointment when we did was that we would be part way to Gaffney anyway to attend a Tennessee Travelers rally in Sevierville the following week so we just showed up two days early.  The Saturday drive back from Gaffney took us an extra hour due to a four car wreck on I-26 and the heavy traffic from I-40 to Sevierville (Saturday of fall break). 

We checked into River Plantation RV Resort (our forth visit) and were assigned site 122 for two nights – we added the extra days too late to get the same site as for the rally.  I really don’t consider this a resort yet as they have gravel roads and sites and WiFi only in a couple of central locations.

The highlight of the day was getting set up in time to watch the second half of the Tennessee – Auburn game in which UT pulled off an upset and gave first year coach Jeremy Pruitt his first big win.  The low point of the day was watching my WV Mountaineers flounder around in a loss to Iowa State and after watching several previous games I was not at all surprised.

That’s it for now from Sevierville and I'll have more updates about our rally.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them and the blue words are links.

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


10/11-10/13/18 Event Dates

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Naan Bread Pesto Pizza

We had been recently talking about pesto and Bev began looking for recipes that use it and she came up with Pesto Pizza from All Recipes so during a recent Sam’s club visit, she picked up a jar of Member’s Mark Pesto.  We all thought the jarred pesto was very good but care must be taken as it is a little salty.

The four of us each built our individual pizzas selecting from the available toppings and beginning with a generous layer of pesto.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Sausage & Kraut Flatbread Pizza

I’d seen this pizza made on TV and since I had some really good ingredients on hand, I wanted to give it a try and serve it to sausage fan (ex-Chicago) friends Laurie and Dave.  I decided to use our favorite Lithuanian Sausage (from the Wurst Kitchen)  but wanted to cook it first too make it easier to slice later and be certain it got done on the pizza.  Since I didn’t want it to cook too much, I cooked in Sous-vide in 140-150F water for six hours (this was the temp my stove would hold the water at and in the range I wanted).  Here it is in the vacuum sealed package with a probe thermometer monitoring the water temperature.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Back Home and Cooking Brats & Stuffed Chop

While in Sycamore, IL, there was a little dive looking place at the end of the road entering the campground that Bev found totally fascinating and insisted we check it out.  It’s somewhat hard to describe so we’ll use their words – “A butcher shop that cooks.”  

All of the meat cooking and smoking is done over charcoal on outside grills and the eating is at picnic tables also located outside.  The inside contains a case full of good looking meat, homemade salads of all kinds (slaw, potato salad, pasta salad, etc), deli meats.  They serve hot and cold sandwiches along with plate meals from the meats they cook. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

2018 Summer RV Trip – Days 44-46 – Last Day In Sycamore & Trip Home

Our original plan was to go from Illinois to Ohio Amish Country (Holmes County) then on to West Virginia for an 11 day, two stop rally of our RV club, but when the rally dropped down to just three coaches, we decided to cancel it.  My girls had already been saying they were ready to be home, so we cancelled out Holmes County as well and made plans to head south.

We were due to leave IL on Sunday of Labor Day weekend and not surprisingly, a suitable campground site was not to be found in the area we needed to spend the night so we stayed another day in Sycamore and had no problem getting into the Monday night place we wanted.

So Sunday, we made preparations for departure and watched a Shania Twain concert on TV and all I can say is that she is spectacular and then she starts singing and becomes even more so. J

Monday, September 10, 2018

2018 Summer RV Trip – Day 43 – Historic Roundhouse Restaurant & Sausage

Saturday was our day to visit with the kids and stock up on sausage and at Ann’s suggestion, we met for lunch at Two Brothers Roundhouse in Aurora, IL.  Eric was out of town so it was Ann and Matthew & Sophia who are growing like weeds.

The restaurant is in an old railroad roundhouse and here is an excerpt for Wikipedia – “The Two Brothers Roundhouse, formerly the Walter Payton Roundhouse, America's Historical Roundhouse, and Chicago, Burlington, & Quincy Roundhouse and Locomotive Shop is a historic building converted to a restaurant in Aurora, Illinois. It was originally constructed in 1856 as a roundhouse for the Chicago & Aurora Railroad (later Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad) and served in this capacity until 1974. It was abandoned until 1995, when a group of investors led by Walter Payton purchased it and converted the building to an entertainment complex. Its most recent tenant is Two Brothers Brewing. The building is the oldest limestone roundhouse in the United States and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.”

Two Brothers is a restaurant, brewery, and distillery and it is amazing how they have made use of this fine old building which is made of stone and wood – huge beams can be seen supporting the roof on the inside.

Then the outside area where the turntable was located is set up for events.

Our lunches were burgers, wings, stuffed poblano, and a reuben and they were all just warm by the time we got them so the food gets a C but the location was a winner.

From there, we headed over to The Wurst Kitchen to stock up on some great sausages to take home – we bought at least 30lbs of frozen ones and the RV freezer was completely full.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them and the blue words are links.

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


9/01/18 Event Date

Saturday, September 8, 2018

2018 Summer RV Trip – Days 41-42 – Moving To and Visiting the Sycamore, IL Area

Our son Eric and his family live it Naperville, IL so we planned to stop for a visit on our way south and the nearest decent campground I could find was in Sycamore, IL which is in farm country about 40 miles from Naperville.

The trip south from Egg Harbor was uneventful (just the way I like them) and our route was WI-57S, I-43N, I-41S, WI-26S, I-39S, and WI-64E.  Most of the roads were concrete or paved over concrete so we experienced joint cracks most of the way but none of the surfaces were really bad.  WI-26 was a nice drive out thru the county side and much of it was 4-lane. The two interstates around Green Bay were uncrowded and made for a good by-pass.  I would use this same route again.

We pulled into Sycamore RV Resort around 4pm and had no issues with any roads until making the turn onto E North Ave leading to the campground.  The road was narrow and I crossed over the curb with both the rear coach tires and the car.  Here are shots of our site and our view out the front.  We were in site 86.

On Friday we drove through Sycamore and down to DeKalb and noticed the area seemed to be doing well economically in both the downtown's and the road between the towns was lined with the normal strip malls and big box stores.  I asked the campground owner if there was something beside Northern Illinois Univ. and farming bringing in money and he said it was mostly farming plus Sycamore is the county seat.  Here is an NIU shot from the web then two buildings I was impressed with.

Since Saturday was Pat’s BD and I thought we might be busy that night, we pan fried some steaks for her celebration supper on Friday.  I used the induction cooker and had not used it like this before, but it worked fine once I figured out which heat level to use.  The girls each had a filet and I had a strip and after tasting mine and theirs, I will never again order a filet.  Yes, it was more tender but the strip had way more of a beef flavor – I knew this but it was never before made so clear to me.

For more on the campground, here are some shots of the part that is in the shade and along the lakes beginning with a web shot of their map - we were in the blue sites in the upper right.

Everything worked well at the campground and it had one of the best WiFi's I've found but the big negative was no cable and our antenna would not get local channels so I couldn't watch WVU whup-up on TN on CBS without going to a sports bar, which I originally considered then decided against.  I hated to pull against UT but I just have to root for my home state school and alma mater, but I hope the Vols have a great year from here on.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them and the blue words are links.

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


8/30-8/31/18 Event Dates

Thursday, September 6, 2018

2018 Summer RV Trip – Day 40 - Salmon Spread & Door County Wrap-Up

It finally happened on our last day in Door County – a 25 degree temperature difference.  The primary reason I wanted to visit northern MI & WI was to see if they would be a good place to beat the summer heat in TN and we had already decided the answer was no.  But on Wednesday we finally got what I had been hoping for the entire time, well maybe not this much but it was 90F at home and only 65F here in Egg Harbor.  I talked with a friend in Knoxville and he said he had already lost 10# of sweat while working on his RV that morning.  This was only the 2nd or 3rd time we've been able to open up the coach and I had hoped to do that most days during this trip.

For our last day in Egg Harbor, the girls went out for a little last minute shopping including some fruit pies for the road and we began stowing items for the trip – mostly the girls wines – they found several they liked and I found none so I would not recommend Door County for serious wine but it’s good for sweeter grape and fruit wines.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

2018 Summer RV Trip – Days 38 & 39 - Coyote Roadhouse, Salmon, and Pasta

During our wine tasting trolley tour, we asked the driver where the locals go for non-tourist food and one of the places he suggested was the Coyote Roadhouse located a few miles east of Egg Harbor.  They opened at 11am so we skipped breakfast and went for an early lunch.

After entering, my first thought was yep, this is a roadhouse and the kind of place I like.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

2018 Summer RV Trip – Day 35, 36 & 37 – Friday Shopping, Eastern Peninsula, Trolley Wine Tour

Friday was supposed to be a day of bad weather with rain beginning around 1pm so the girls decided to get out earlier than normal, visit the Egg Harbor farmers market, then head up to shop in Fish Creek until the weather got bad.  I had a couple of repairs to make so I hung around the coach with the dogs and fixed supper.  Turned out the FM had only four stands (but one with good maters) and the rain went around the very dry peninsula and the girls spent several hours in Fish Creek.

Saturday began with this special Bev BLT & egg (it was awesome and here is a shot of the privately owned park model two sites from us. 

Friday, August 31, 2018

2018 Summer RV Trip – Day 33 &34 –Pelletiers & Trolley Tour

If you know anything about this area and some parts of upper MI, then you’ve heard of fish boils, where White Fish and veggies are cooked in a large pot of boiling water over a wood fire.

I’d seen a fish boil on one of the TV shows that features different restaurants and since one show had been about Pelletiers Restaurant and Fish Boil and we were camping five miles from their Fish Creek location we opted to give it a try.  From the TV show, I thought they were out in the country, but they are actually located right down town but the set-up makes it seem like you are not.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

2018 Summer RV Trip – Days 32 & 33 –Egg Harbor

We awoke to overcast skies, an off and on drizzle, a good breeze, and cool temps – I wore a warm up jacket while doing my computing outside.

After a couple of failed restaurant stops (too crowded), we stopped at MacReady Artisan Bread Co. for some artisan bread and scones and took them back home for breakfast.  The bread was pretty good but we all thought the scones were too dry so no need to return.

Monday, August 27, 2018

2018 Summer RV Trip – Days 30 & 31 –Maple Syrup, Lambeau & Moving North

We knew the maple syrup we had purchased in New Hampshire several years ago was about gone and when we saw it advertised here, we looked up a local supplier and went to their place to check it out.  InTheWoods Sugar Bush Maple Syrup is literally in the woods among the 1400 maple trees that they tap from - not visible from the road and no sign.  

Their house and sugar operation share the same building and when you drive back their gravel lane in the woods, the first thing you notice is the blue plastic tubing running among the trees for collecting the sap.  I failed to get a pic but someone else did.