Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Our First Boondocking, aka Living Off the Grid

For three days and three nights our home base last weekend was on a parking lot at Georgetown College in Georgetown, KY. No electricity, water or sewage hookups. How did that work out for us? Actually it was much better than I expected.  Our electrical needs were powered by an 85 watt solar panel on the top of The Wanderer. We do have a generator, but didn’t need to use it. Fortunately we have the propane gas tank to cool the refrigerator and heat the water. We had cold beer and hot showers! The fresh water tank held more than enough water for washing dishes and quick showers. The black water tank (for sewage) and gray water tank (all other waste water) were more than sufficient to hold our waste water. With many years of tent camping experience, frugality with resources came natural.

Without all those years of setting up camp in the rain, trotting to campground restrooms in the middle of the night and sleeping on the ground, I don’t think we would truly be able to appreciate the comforts of The Wanderer. We felt we were in luxurious accommodations!

Stoker's View

We were in Georgetown for the 38th Annual  Horsey Hundred bicycle ride. We have lost  track of the number of times we have  participated in this ride. In all the previous  years we stayed in the noisy, college dorms  with down the hall showers and restrooms;  slightly better than sleeping in tents. Did I  mention how much we appreciate The  Wanderer?
Stoker's View
Horse country rates right up there with East Tennessee as a favorite place to ride. Riding the rolling hills past horse farms and green pastures is a tandem team’s dream.

We couldn’t help but think about the many friends with whom we have shared this experience and there were a lot of “remember whens.”

Over the past 10 days, I (ABN) read a book (Storm Clouds Rolling In, the first of Ginny Dye’s Bregdan Chronicles) and finished a cross stitch piece started 14 years ago. Captain slept late, tinkered with The Wanderer and read A Wrinkle in Time. Together we cycled 188 miles, connected with friends and enjoyed a new adventure. Yep, we think we will like retirement just fine!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Retirement Practice

This week we have taken The Wanderer to Townsend, TN in a practice run for a longer trip in the fall. It was our inaugural towing; Captain handled it as though he had been a long distance truck driver for years.

We have been coming to Townsend for about 20 years; it rates very near, if not at the top, of our favorite places to bicycle. Over the years we have made many friends here which enhances our trips. Located on the quiet side of the Smoky's, the area is absolutely beautiful.

We chose to come at this time to ride in the Tour de Blount bike ride. For us it was a slow,challenging ride, for our friends it was a "ride in the park."

During the week we explored Townsend on the tandem, stopping for a wine tasting, visiting a fresh produce stand, and found a charming pottery and wood crafting shop. 

The Stoker's View

Oh, we also had to make a stop at our favorite ice cream shop. Unfortunately, we couldn't have Captain's beloved Blue Bell, but we were assured, when production resumes they will stock.

We cycled in the Smoky Mountain National Park. Love the eight mile ride from Metcalf Bottoms picnic area down Little River Gorge Road. Actually it is more of a coast than a ride. Of course we
had to climb the eight miles before we could coast!


And, of course, we had to ride the Cades Cove loop.
The Stoker's View

One afternoon we joined friends for a safari; yes a real safari with exotic animals. Citico  Wildlife Wilderness is located in the Cherokee National Forest. Owner Cleve Tedford has animals he acquired from overstocked zoos and collectors. Quite a fascinating tour.

View from the campground.

Our home address for the week was The Big Meadow Family Campground on the Little River. It is quiet, staff is friendly and the bath house is clean. The only downside is the sites are small, very small. We would stay here again but would like to try some of the many other RV parks.

The Wanderer is the only RV in the 
campground with wheel covers, does she 
look a bit nerdy?

We are pleased with The Wanderer and are looking forward to     taking her west in late summer. Of course there is a learning curve  and the adjustment of living in tight quarters. We have learned  everything has a place and something in front of it. Command  hooks are our new best friends. Everything we bring must have at  least two uses. In some ways we are taking a few steps backward  as we hand wash the dishes, use the laundry mat and the internet  is very slow. We embrace the challenge as that is part of the  adventure. 

Our souls were fed on this trip with adventure, bicycling, and especially with spending time with some very good friends.  

Today we will pack up and head to Georgetown, KY for the Horsey Hundred Bike Ride. No campground this time; we will be dry docking, or is it boon docking or maybe dry camping in other words, we will be off the grid. Another new adventure! 

ABN (Anyone But Navigator)