Saturday, January 31, 2009


Today Bernie got up really early to go hiking with Lula and some of her friends, who hike regularly.

Unfortunately, Bernie wasn't feeling too well so after hiking a little while, Bernie decided to go back and just wait for everyone to finish the 4 mile hike.

While she was waiting she got sick twice, so after she got home she pretty much slept the rest of the day. She was too weak and tired to do anything else.

Mar spent the evening working on her laptop and being very quiet as to not wake Bernie up.

Friday, January 30, 2009

The post office

It was already evening when we got to Asheville yesterday so we couldn't go to to post office to pick up Mar's mail that her daughter forwarded for her here.

On the way here last night we got a chance to see how close the post office was to the house so we decided to walk there today. According to google maps it was only .3 miles, so we bundled up and off we went.

After waiting in line for a few minutes, when it was our turn to go up to the counter, we were informed this particular post office has no general delivery and to get the mail, we would have to go to the main post office downtown.

We have been to 18 other states and this has never happened before ... but there is always a first time for everything, isn't there?

The other post office was only about 3 miles away and they drew us a map, but we were on foot so first we tried to find a bus to get us there but there were no bus stops near us that we could walk to, so we headed back to the house.

Lucky for us, Lula had come home early from work to wait for an appliance repair person and she was kind enough to lend us her car. So we drove to downtown Asheville, found the post office and picked up Mar's mail, and it was nice to get to see a little bit of downtown.

After we got back to the house, Bernie installed some window blinds for Lula, and then they discussed some more the projects that Bernie will do while we're here.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

South Carolina ?!?!

We are headed to Asheville NC today for Bernie’s next job, about a two hour drive.

The “service engine soon” light came on so Bernie checked all the fluids and found nothing wrong. We don’t know why the light is on.

We were happy to find out the fridge was working fine so we packed up all our food, closed up the house, entered our destination in our GPS, and we were ready to hit the road.

For some reason, Lola (our GPS) decided to take us to South Carolina on our way from Charlotte to Asheville. As soon as we saw the “Welcome to South Carolina” sign, we got off at the next exit.

After confirming our route using online maps, we got back on track and were very happy to see the “Welcome to North Carolina” sign. We turned Lola off for a while, she needed a break.

When we finally got to Asheville, we stopped at a grocery store to pick up a couple of things and then we went to Lula’s house.

Lula had emailed us about some projects she has for Bernie at her house and offered us her driveway to park with water, electric, and sewer. Lula gave us the tour, this house was built by Habitat for Humanity for the previous resident. Lula showed Bernie what she needs done and then we went back to Bella and settled in for the night.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Packing up

After spending a wonderful week at this quiet, cozy lodge, we spent the day today cleaning, packing, and getting ready to leave tomorrow.

Bernie spent this week cleaning and organizing the shed, fixing the screen door, installing a new light fixture outside, replacing the electrical outlets inside, hanging rope lights from the porch beams, and fixing the caulk around the kitchen countertops.

Mar spent the week working on her classes and answering student emails, doing laundry, watching the Food Channel to her heart’s content and cooking up a storm. She did a couple of her cooking and baking marathons and now we have extra food packed and ready to eat on the road. Just heat and eat … but be careful when you open the freezer, you may get hit by projectile tupperware …

… and there are rumors that Bernie overdosed on the lemon squares that we were supposed to save for the road, but it’s only rumors after all …

It rained this afternoon for the first time since we’ve been here, which slowed down our preparations a bit. The rain came down in sheets and it was very windy, dark, and grey outside. We had to wait for the rain to stop, and then we got back to packing Bella.

While we were packing, Bernie noticed our fridge was not working properly even though we were plugged in, probably because Bella wasn’t level where she was parked. So we moved Bella to a more level spot and hope the fridge will be working by the time we leave tomorrow.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Bella and the Road

Our original blog is back!

You can now read about Bellas' adventures since we left Orlando FL in June 2008.

The only difference between the two blogs is one word only. The address for one blog is "bella ON the road" and other blog is "bella AND the road".

You can read either as we will continue to publish both, just in case something happens with blogger again.

When you visit the other blog, remember to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page to see the slideshows with tons of pictures from all our travels.

We hope you enjoy reading our blog as much as we enjoy sharing it with you.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The lodge

We got another email that helped us decide what we’d be doing today.

Kay and Shirley who live in Gastonia NC and own a vacation rental in Charlotte, invited us to stay at their lodge in exchange for Bernie doing some light work needed around the house.

So after we said goodbye to Tom and Elizabeth, we headed back to Charlotte to meet Kay at the lodge. We gave Kay a tour of Bella and she gave us a tour of this gorgeous property, she made us feel right at home.

The lodge is a secluded house in the woods. It is a very comfortable and lovely house on five acres, which sleeps 8. It is within walking distance of the newly opened National Whitewater Center.

This house is very private and has everything anyone could possibly need, including a fire pit, foosball table, swings, screened porch, and a big bbq grill. Pets are welcome and it is handicap accessible.

We brought in a few of our things from Bella and started to get acquainted with the place and settled in. It is a great place and we’re delighted to be here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Coyote Joes

We were trying to decide if we should stay or go, or what to do, since our hostesses are so busy this week. Well, we got an email that made that decision an easy one.

Even before we bought Bella and left Florida, we met an online friend through our rv yahoo groups, who has been with us throughout the whole planning and traveling process. He has given us tons of valuable help, advice, and information, and is always available to answer any question we throw his way. If he doesn’t know the answer, he finds out for us. In case you can’t tell, we love our Tom. This trip would have been much more difficult without his never ending support.

When we let Tom know we’d be coming through Charlotte NC, where he lives, he invited us to share his favorite weekly activity: western country dancing. Wednesday night is ladies night so we decided to just go to Charlotte, finally meet Tom in person, and get some line dancing lessons. Why not? We were up for it. We put in the address for Coyote Joes in our GPS and hit the road.

Down the road from the dance club we stopped for a quick dinner at a place called the BBQ King. This place was featured on the show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives on the Food Network (Mar’s favorite channel). There is no seating inside or out, only drivethru. We ordered both of the items the show recommended, the bbq chicken and the minced bbq sandwich. We both agreed it could have been better. But we did it and it’ another notch in our belt.

At Coyote Joes we met some of Tom’s friends also. They all tried to teach us a few of the easier line dances and Mar got to two-step with Tom. She only stepped on his toes a few times. Bernie got to ride the electric bull. This was her second time ever, and this time she was able to stay on longer. She has the pictures and the bruises to prove it. We had a lot of fun tonight.

When we couldn’t dance any more, we all went to Waffle House for a late night snack. Then we followed Tom and Elizabeth to her house in Dallas NC, where we plugged in and parked for the night.

Introducing Cornelia

We have a new travel partner. Her name is Cornelia and she is a purple sock monkey.

You may notice from the pictures that Cornelia is a bit challenged, we don't speak of this in her presence of course.

But yes, she is a challenged sock monkey. Cornelia came into our lives these past holidays. Mar's kids made her, since they can't sew and have never sewn before, Cornelia didn't end up perfect but that just makes her more precious to us. She is our very own sock monkey and she brings joy to our travels.

We are proud to have Cornelia as our other travel partner and we hope she enjoys the trip as much as we do. Stay tuned for Cornelia's adventures on the road with Bella. Life doesn't get any better than this.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Spring cleaning in winter

Today was a beautiful, crisp winter day. It was very cold with a little sprinkling of snow here and there. This place is gorgeous, it's a 70s ranch style house that is set back in the woods. A wonderfully peaceful place, with tons of bare trees and a creek.

Mar had a productive day, she did some spring cleaning and reorganized the cabinets. Now things should be easier to find.

Last night Mar showed Bernie how to play a new computer game called mahjong, and she is now addicted to it. She plays every chance she gets.

We only get a few tv channels since we don’t have cable in Bella and we didn’t get our converter box yet, but we did get to watch some of the inauguration celebration.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A new day, a new town

Today we drove about an hour and a half to the house of Lyn and Jane in Greensboro NC. The weather was in the 40's and it was a good drive. We stopped at Walmart on the way to pick up milk for our coffee and a couple other things. We got gas for $1.69 a gallon.

Lyn and Jane weren't home when we got there but on the phone they told us where to park and where to plug in the electric. We got settled and met them later tonight when they got home. They were so friendly it felt like we've known them a long time.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I'll show you mine

Today was a very relaxing day, a day of rest. Our hostess, Judith, is very pleasant. Our friend Kate stopped by on her way from PA to SC to see us and to meet Judith. We all belong to the same rv yahoo group which is how we met. It was a wonderful visit, it was great to see Kate again. We hope to catch up to her again in the near future in another state.

Of course we had to do the “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours”. We all took a tour of each other’s rigs and had a good time comparing and telling stories. It was fun to compare a mini van, a class B, and our class C.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

NC here we come (again!)

We got up early (that’s early afternoon for us) and finished up the packing and the preparations. Mar’s charlie horse still hurts so she is still limping and moving slow.

Bernie went outside to de-winterize Bella before getting on the road and it turns out the house outside pipes are frozen so nothing came out of the water hose. We had to postpone the de-winterizing and will have to stop to use public restrooms along the way.

Today we drove about 6 hours on our way to Judith’s house in Chapel Hill NC. Judith is a member of one of our rv yahoo groups and offered us her driveway, with water and electric.

When we got there it was already dark but since the house pipes weren’t frozen, Bernie decided to go ahead and de-winterize Bella, so we could use the bathroom and kitchen.

Everything went well until we tried to use the water heater to take a shower. We could tell the water in the water heater was hot but the water coming out of the hot water faucets inside was absolutely freezing. It took some detective work to figure out how to fix this.

After checking several rv websites, pulling out our rv books, and asking questions of an online friend via instant messenger, we drew a diagram of our water heater bypass which helped us decide the right position of all three valves. Bernie got under the kitchen cabinet, turned the valves and we finally had hot water so we could shower. Another rv puzzle solved!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Honey do and charlie horse

A visit of 3-4 days at Aunt Evelyn’s has now turned into a whole week. Between this extreme cold arctic weather keeping us indoors and Aunt Evelyn’s honey-do list getting longer and longer, we are still here in Rockville MD.

The house looks wonderful. This week Bernie has painted four rooms, a ceiling and a stairwell, then put up blinds and curtains, and also fixed the front door.

This week Mar has worked on her classes, did the laundry, and prepared and packed meals that we can just reheat on the road. She also made several yummy desserts to take with us. If we have some extra pounds on us next time you see us, you’ll know why.

The work is now completed and today we are packing and getting Bella ready for the road. While we were packing Bernie’s cousin, Kathleen, came over with her massage table. She needs volunteers to give massages to so she can practice for her degree. Bernie was the lucky recipient of a very long and relaxing massage, which she really needed after working hard all week.

While Bernie got her massage, Mar continued to pack and started taking things out to Bella. It was really, really cold tonight and when Mar came out of Bella as she landed on her left foot, she got the worst charlie horse ever, now she can hardly walk and is limping all over the place.

After her massage Bernie went back to packing and getting us ready to go. We plan to leave tomorrow, after de-winterizing Bella. We are going to North Carolina.

We visited the coast of NC at the beginning of our trip when we left Florida last summer and didn’t plan to go back. But with the weather being so unpredictable, and after receiving a couple of job offers for Bernie, we decided to change our route and this way we will get to visit the other parts of NC that we didn’t get to see last time we were there.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Exciting news

Mar is very excited today. She got notice that she has been selected to serve at the College Board's 2009 Advance Placement Reading. She will be grading the advance placement essays in psychology from students all around the nation.

The reading will be in Kansas City MO for a week in June, with all expenses paid (training, travel, lodging, meals) and a stipend.

Mar is very excited about adding this great experience to her resume and also having a great reason to visit MO and add one more state to our travels.

If you haven't seen it, make sure you scroll all the way down this page so you can see the map of the states we have visited so far.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The colors of nature

We had a great night’s sleep. We were a little cold but nothing we haven’t handled before. After getting up and having a wonderful cup of coffee we were ready to go to Rockville MD, less than 2 hours away. Today we got gas for $1.57 per gallon.

We had been in the area last fall and today as we drove we noticed how these hills which were green and brown, then turned to reds and yellows, are now all white. We have been lucky to see mother nature displaying all her colors, each season having its own allure. Today it all seems clean and crisp, just like new beginnings and it is exciting.

On the way there Mar surprised Bernie with the knowledge that she was taking her to breakfast … in the middle of the afternoon! Bernie was very excited. We went to a place called The Fractured Prune in downtown Rockville. It is a donut shop and they make your donuts to order. You can decide how you like your donut and the toppings you want on it. They have so many toppings to choose from that it was pretty fun designing our donuts.

Then we headed to Aunt Evelyn’s house, about ten minutes away. When we got there we found that some more relatives were over playing bridge and everyone was very happy to see us.

As everyone went back to playing bridge Bernie heated up some artichoke and spinach dip Mar had made and then she made a mouth watering dessert of strawberries, chocolate sauce and whipped cream. It was delicious.

We spent a wonderful evening talking, joking, eating, and drinking. It is nice to be here.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Our job here is done

After a couple of days of packing and getting Bella ready, we finally hit the road about midafternoon. We are on the move again!

We left Elida OH and are taking a detour, we are headed to Rockville MD where Bernie’s aunt lives. She has some work for Bernie so we decided to tackle it now before we get back to our travels.

It felt so good to get back to Bella. We realized how much this little house on wheels is really our home, we find it so comfortable, familiar, and cozy.

But Bella is winterized and because we’ll be staying with Aunt Evelyn, we decided not to dewinterize just yet. This means that we have to try to get there as soon as possible. We can’t use the bathroom or kitchen, so we had to find ways to improvise. “Primitive” camping is certainly not our thing.

Today we drove 10 hours and finally stopped for the night in Winchester VA. We don’t like driving more than 2-3 hours a day so today was really hard on both of us. We felt pretty much like zombies by the time we stopped for the night and hope we never have to do this again!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A blog of our blog

Happy New Year everyone!

Another RV blog mentioned our blog and we thought that was so cool, we want to mention that blog too. Here it is, check it out:

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