A Different Set of Two Wheels

I’ve really enjoyed riding my Tao TBR7 on the back roads here in north Georgia. Unfortunately, there just aren’t many off-road trails to use nearby. Plenty of dirt roads can be found but it sure lacks the experience of riding in the wilderness. Given that most of my rides end up mostly on pavement, it made the urge for a road bike a lot stronger. Well, I fixed that problem. Welcome a new 2023 Yamaha YZF-R3 to the garage. It’s a 320cc street bike and it exactly what I was looking for. At least for now (but don’t tell Mary that part).

Double Take

I’ve been trying to capture better pics of the fledgling hawk in the backyard. While watching it move in the nest, I noticed some additional movement next to it. Lo and behold, there are two young hawks enjoying our habitat. You can see one looking at us in this pic and its sibling giving a profile to its left. Pretty cool. Let’s hope Mom and Dad can keep up with feeding two hungry kids.

Rott’n Hawks

While away on our 3-week middle eastern trip, a pair of Red Shoulder Hawks decided our quiet backyard was the perfect place to build a nest. Weren’t they surprised when people showed up and invaded their territory. They became accustomed to our presence walking the yard with Bailey pretty quickly. Now that Spring has sprung, they have successfully hatched at least two eggs. We have seen two fledgling hawks in the nest. One decided to be boldly photogenic for us to capture an image.

Merry Chistmas!

We hope everyone has had a safe and enjoyable 2022 as our world slowly but surely gets back to normal.

For us, it has been our first full year of retirement and we are still trying to get used to it!  It has been a time for wondering that well, now that we’ve done it, what next???  This led to our decision to buy a RV travel trailer and get on the road.  We had a couple “local” shakedown trips to Pigeon Forge, TN and Mistletoe State Park, GA before heading out on an epic summer six-week trip to Maine and back.  We were able to spend time with family and friends in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont plus explore many places along the way.  We look forward to a lot more exploring in 2023.

We’re still working on our 2023 plan so stay tuned.  It should be starting off with a great trip overseas including some places we haven’t been plus one we have.  At the risk of repeating ourselves, it will be epic!

In addition to all his other hobbies, Pete’s new thing this year is motorcycling.  He earned his motorcycle endorsement and bought a dual-sport (on and off road) 250cc motorcycle.  He has clocked up over 2,500 km on the north Georgia back roads near our home.  He’s also putting his aviation knowledge to work helping the American Aviation Historical Society identify and catalog thousands of aircraft photos and slides in their collection.  Good relaxing fun!

Mary has not pick up any new hobbies (or dogs) this past year!  Bailey (our German Shepherd Dog) underwent a pretty major surgery last year for a torn knee ligament, recovery, while lengthy, has gone well and Mary is spending a lot of time with her. Local businesses know us well and even ask where is Bailey when we go without her.  If Bailey’s physical conditioning allows, next year she may be at competition dock diving, where dogs compete for distance jumping into a pool.  And of course, Mary is always searching deals for that next “epic” adventure for us!

You can keep up with our adventures by vising our online photo album:


2022 Maine Expedition is complete

The dust has settled from our first epic road trip with our travel trailer, Snickers. Departing north Georgia on August 1, we covered 3,165 miles to northern Maine (Greenville) and back. The 2022 Maine Expedition found us driving through 14 states and staying at 18 different campgrounds. We’re now busy organizing photos from all the neat places we visited along the way including Natural Bridge VA, US Army Heritage Center, Moosehead Lake ME, the Morgan Horse Farm in VT, Niagara Falls NY, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland OH, USAF Museum in Dayton OH, and Kentucky Horse Park. The best part was getting to spend time with family in ME, NH and VT. Photo galleries coming soon!

That’s a wrap!

From Georgia to Maine and back, gone about a month and a half, sleeping in 10 different states. What a trip!

Dublin Valley Farm RV Park, Kodak, TN

We enjoyed two quiet nights in this beautiful location. Located very close to I40, so there is a bit of road noise from the highway. We booked online and when we arrived it was an easy self check-in. While we didn’t use it, we did check out their well provisioned and clean bath house. There weren’t many other campers and most of the time, we never saw anyone else. One night during Bailey’s walk, we startled a small skunk. Luckily it scurried off without spraying.

We took Bailey for a hike at Trotter Bluff TVA Small Wild Area. It was a relatively easy trail with some large limestone sinkholes and some core samples that were taken and discarded when building the Douglas Dam.

Nearby is the tourist meca of Pigeon Forge, which we have been to several times. Much of the tourist stuff we have “been there, done that”, however very close to the RV park is the Old Tennessee Distillery Company (https://oldtennesseedistillingco.com/) and they offer a free tasting. So, we decided that we’d go check them out. We sampled flavors like lemon, blackberry, coffee, and s’mores. We can neither confirm or deny any purchases.

So far we are enjoying Snickers. Mary even fired up the oven to make dinner one night. Yes it does warm up the RV a bit but the A/C kept up pretty good. We’ve been sleeping pretty good…the blinds pretty much block out all outside light. So far only one minor maintenance/warranty issue, the bathroom vent fan quick working this morning. We’ll get a technician out to fix it when we’re parked longer in Maine.

Well that’s about it for Tennessee, we’ll be in Virginia tonight!

Introducing “Snickers”

At 21 feet Snickers is “fun-sized”…big enough for both of us and Bailey, yet small enough to fit into most state park campgrounds. So far we have checked off two USA states, setting a goal to camp in 47 more (sorry Hawaii, we won’t be shipping Snickers on a boat). During our first two expeditions, Snickers has proven to be everything that we had hoped for in a RV. We love having the comforts of home wherever we decide to roam.

New year, new toy

Pete reports: We’ve officially been retired for a year now. I decided that retirement was a time to get involved with hobbies I never had time for but wanted to do. Typical story, right? So with a new motorcycle permit in hand, I went to buy a 250cc TBR7 dual sport I’ve been eyeing. You can order this bike from Amazon and it shows up at your house in a crate with some minor assembly required. Then I found a shop 30 minutes north of us that sells them with the very attractive offer to use their shop, tools, and expertise to let me finish the bike quickly. All for the same price as the Amazon delivery. After talking to them, I learned they also sell them fully assembled and tested for the same price too! No brainer. I bought the bike and the owner said, oh, you live in Ball Ground? I go there several times a week. Want me to deliver it? Heck yeah!

After a couple months and over 400 miles on the back roads near home, I can report it is as fun as I hoped!

Merry Christmas!

Like seemingly for everyone, 2021 has been a year of significant change.

The biggest for us personally was both taking advantage of early retirement from the workforce, Mary at the end of December last year and Pete on March 1 this year.  It certainly is a leap of faith but we’ve been planning for this for quite some time.  We both know how lucky we are to be able to do so and have been enjoying our free time with hiking, kayaking, and some travelling.  We have a big trip planned for the near future and hope that travel restrictions don’t change between now and then.  Keeping our fingers crossed!

Our household at Rott’n Manor is now Mary, Pete, and our German Shepherd Bailey.  Another (literally) big change this year is Mary’s new crew cab F150 pickup truck.  Mary loves her new truck.  It has been fitted with a large wire crate in the back seat area for Bailey.  Now, the three of us can start exploring the southeast together and might try working in some longer road trips.  We intended to be doing road trips already but Bailey needed knee surgery in September to repair a ruptured ligament and is happily almost back to unrestricted activity.

In a typical post-retirement fashion, a major effort we’ve had underway is simplifying our household.  We are well into cleaning out the 27 years worth of “oubliets”, stuff we stashed to deal with later.  Pete even reduced his VW collection by two!  Now we only have the 57 Beetle and 74 Thing for him to tinker on.  Well, that’s not entirely accurate.  There is also the 67 Mustang coupe stored out back that Pete intends to get working on in 2022.

We were grateful to make two Maine trips to be with family this year.  The circumstances for making the trips were sad, both for memorial services for Mary’s Mom Elizabeth Richards and Pete’s Step-Mom Fay Clukey.  However, the time being together with both our families was very much needed after such a long time apart.  We hope to see everyone more often now that our schedule is VERY flexible.

We wish everyone the best in 2022 and hope to see you soon!

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