Visit to Knoxville and Transit to Santa Rosa Beach FL

When last we left our heroes (as they used to say during the ‘30s radio serials), we were parked at Pocahontas Campground in Chesterfield VA near their human kids. Between them working we ended up going over on Saturday for some laundry and then again later in the week for more laundry. In between time Connie did a bunch of work and Neil worked on various honey do’s around the house. We had dinner over at the kids and went out one night for ice cream with them. Neil brought BAT over one day as Bryan had a bunch of debris from taking a tree down that needed to get hauled off to the dump…he and Bryan made two trips over there with BAT’s bed fully loaded with heavy log pieces.

Thursday morning we got packed up for our 2 day drive down to Knoxville to see Neil’s sister MJ. We stopped overnight at Interstate Overnite RV Park right off of the freeway in Christianburg VA and had dinner at the local Ruby Tuesday’s. Friday we continued on arriving at the Escapee’s run Raccoon Valley RV Park in Heiskell TN. We had MJ and her daughter Lauren over for some grilled burgers Saturday afternoon while we watched the Alabama vs Texas A&M game. ‘Bama won as expected but nobody say 59-0 with 5 touchdowns in the 2nd quarter and a 45 to zip halftime lead. The offense was clicking on all cylinders and the D played much better than in the two previous weeks against Ole Miss and Arkansas. Sunday we went out to Mass then down to MJ’s house for a brew and sat out on the veranda for awhile then off to Ruby’s for dinner (MJ gets half off as an employee) followed by heading home and getting ready for more transit days.

Monday found us on the road again…by the time we got to FL we had traveled 4 o 6 days and made 960 miles mostly southwards. We stopped overnight at the Fam Camp at Maxwell AFB in Montgomery AL then continued down to Top Sail State Park in Santa Rosa Beach FL just east of Pensacola…we arrived Tuesday afternoon. On the way south the day before we joked amongst ourselves about entering the disaster zone as southern AL was frequently referred to due to Neil’s family having all sorts of trials and tribulations. Neil joked that it didn’t count until you got south of Montgomery…which we arbitrarily defined as being south of the point where I-65 joins up with I-85 over to Atlanta.

Sure enough…on arrival at the AFB our LR slide wouldn’t open and we were just ever so slightly south of the intersection point. Based on the symptoms we decided it was a recurrence of the broken bolt we had a year or so ago in June 13 up in Jasper AB in the Canadian Rockies. We just left that slide in for the night and figured we would look at it on our arrival at Top Sail.

Tuesday we continued on down arriving at Top Sail about 1300 and got parked and setup…for a whole 4 days before our scheduled next to last move to Cedar Key FL on Saturday. Luckily we got a site on a concrete pad which meant that Neil could use his mechanics creeper to roll around under the house troubleshooting the slide issue rather than having to crawl across gravel or grass. Connie stayed on the patio and fetched tools for him.

He took the underbelly covering off…a pretty easy job as it’s just held on with sheet metal screws and sure enough the bolt was broken. So…off to Ace Hardware where we purchased 4 (only needed one but as a recurring failure we decided to have spares) Grade 8 bolt 3/16 by 1.5 inches along with lock washer and nut. Another hour or so under the house to install, test and button the underbelly back up and voilà, our LR slide works fine and dandy again.

After a shower we headed off to a local spot for dinner…Stinky’s Fish Camp…where we had brews, oysters, and some fried Brie cheese…that last was an error by the server so they gave it to us for free. We don’t normally like Brie but it was free so we gave it a shot and deep fried it was amazingly good…so good that we would order it again. We also had these rice sausage things (boudin) that were OK but we probably wouldn’t order them again.

Here are shots of our site at Raccoon Valley and our site 107 here at Top Sail. Raccoon Valley is conveniently close to MJ’s house but is otherwise unremarkable except for the 16 bucks a night rate. Top Sail used to be a commercial park that the state bought and turned into a state campground…and is pretty nice for a state park. Not quite to the “resort” class but pretty decent. Nice concrete pads, cable (luckily since we have no satellite visibility) and close to the beach.

Raccoon Valley

Top Sail Site 107

Connie worked some more today while Neil made some arrangements for installation of our auxiliary fuel tank in BAT and solar panels on our roof…that’s still in flux so I’ll pass on more details when we have them.

Yesterday on the way south…Neil got a call from our friend Bill Napier. Bill and Linda are the folks we were going to go on the trip to the Canadian Maritimes next summer and Alaska the following summer with. Long story short…the plans got changed an they’ve swapped their two trips with Alaska first and the Maritimes in 2016. After perusing our schedule we’re going with them on a caravan arranged by

So…after the RV-Dreams Reunion Rally next May in Marion NC we’ll be heading north and west with arrival in Dawson Creek in late June for a departure on the caravan of June 29 on a 60 day trip through Canada and Alaska ending in Prince George BC the end of August. From there we’ll head over towards Calgary to watch the Tour of Alberta bike race then head homewards toward Fort Myers.

Our plans as of right this minute are to leave Saturday and transit over to Cedar Key for a week then depart on Saturday Nov 1 for Seminole Campground Fort Myers. The folks that are going to do our solar panel install are up in northern FL near the GA border…so depending on how things work out we may delay our arrival in Fort Myers for a few days and skip another mid winter transit up to northern FL for the install. We’ll have to see how that works out.

Once we get our Alaska plans firmed up I’ll post some details so ya’ll can wish you were there with us:-)


About Gunther

The full time RV travels and experiences of Gunther the Bear and Kara the Dog…along with their human staff neil and Connie.
This entry was posted in RV, Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Visit to Knoxville and Transit to Santa Rosa Beach FL

  1. Mj Trainor says:

    BabySis was so happy to see y’all last weekend; we had a blast! Glad you got spares of those pesky bolts! Supposed to be 38 degrees up yonder tonight so hopefully your forecast is warmer! ❤ MJ

  2. Mj Trainor says:

    ps …. MJ still wants to be a stowaway for the AK trek! Just sayin’!

    • Neil Laubenthal says:

      I’m afraid we couldn’t take Lauren that long…sorry about that but her bad attitude (but maybe it’s only around us since we disturb her routine) would have us goin’ postal or sumetin’


      • Mj Trainor says:

        Haha! I hear ya! She’s going to her Pops for 2 weeks over Christmas so BabySis gets a mental health week (no work) for the week of Christmas!! Hope you found a Bama sweatshirt that passed muster on the trip south?! BabySis

      • Neil Laubenthal says:

        Nope, didn’t find one that passed muster. Will have to check Amazon next week once we’re parked and see if I can find one. We did have another bolt failure on arrival at Montgomery which meant we couldn’t put our LR slide out…had to rough it but once in Top Sail we got a new one from Ace and got it repaired.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.