Sunday, April 15, 2001

March Getaway, 2001 Six weeks of Camping and Researching, Yippeee

Thursday, March 1, 2001

We arise to sharp cold, sunny Michigan winter day.  We have to pack the food, the dogs, and miscellaneous items, many miscellaneous items.  We finally manage to pull out of the drive at 12:10. We had driven only 1.5 miles, just about to Tipton Highway, and I remember I have no earrings or jewelry, and no bands for my hair.  There was no turning back, as the road out was horrible, pot holes, rather, grand canyonettes. We drove to Adrian, did some banking, grabbed a fast food lunch, did a quick K-Mart run, where I purchased some bands for my hair and one pair of earrings, which I will wear for the next 5.5 weeks.  I later realize I have also forgotten some makeup and my luggage cart for my computer and research.  UGH, that means I will be carting the heavy stuff for the next 5.5 weeks.  More UGH.

We started down 223 to Blissfield, on to US 23 and south to I-75.  We know that we really need to drive to a KOA about 25 miles south of Cincinnati to find a campground that is even open all year round.  So, we do.  We drove 275 miles, arriving at about 7:30.  We were tired, but well pleased with our progress for the day.  We were continually entertained by the crummy drivers, both of personal vehicles and truck drivers, a FedEx truck nearly took off the front end of our truck, missing by about 8 inches in one direction, and about 4 foot in the other.  Believe me, the 4 foot did not bother me.

We had a pull through site, so we did not have to unhook the truck, just plug in, set up the dog cage, put down the stabilizer legs and eat.  The weather is still rather cold, so we “winter camp”, which means no running water in the trailer.  Flush the toilet with a gallon of water.  Maybe tomorrow it will be warm enough, and we will be enough further south to allow us to “un-winterize” and have running water.

Friday, March 2, 2001

We sleep in, YUM

We have a late breakfast at a Waffle House, southern ham (that good salty stuff); grits, the real kind; eggs, the works.

The original plan was to drive towards Savannah, Georgia via I-75.  We now have decided to make our first detour.  We hit Knoxville and head over to Pigeon Forge.  We need to have a look at property values and decide if it is time to sell some land we have there.

We note that about Lexington Kentucky that the grass is starting to show green under all that icky brown winter straw.

We drive about 250 miles, find a rather quiet campground, and settle in.  The campground is supposed to have Internet access in the office, which we will later discover is sorta true. They did last year, and will have again in a few weeks, but as of March 2nd, they do not. UGH.

The weather has turned gray, it is 60 degrees when we arrive in Pigeon Forge, and eventually drippy.  We put down the awning on the trailer, a nice event, because last year it did not go down.  Al had it repaired late last fall.  Glad he did.  The awning covers most of the area for the dog pen.  The 60 degrees is sufficient that we decide that it is time for running water.  Out goes the pink antifreeze, in goes the water.  Oooooooo, how wonderful is a LONG HOT shower!

One rather unpleasant side effect of 60 degrees, I have a HUGE fly in the trailer, alive and buggin us, oh, and there are mosquitoes.  Thankfully, I had thought of that possibility, the dogs were tested for heartworm just 2 days before we left Michigan, and started heartworm preventative on Wednesday.

The forsythia is blooming here, as are the daffodils.  After 2 months of snow covering my yard in Tipton, the bright yellow of the forsythia and daffodils is marvelous!  My favorite spring time plants, and they are blooming.  YUMMY.  I note there is not a lot of forsythia here, I believe we grow more of it in Michigan.  They also have winter pansies planted in the flower beds, what a pleasant sight that is.  They still have all their winter lights and decorations up in the town of Pigeon Forge, looks silly, if you ask me, Christmas lights and forsythia.

We go out to the strip, and let me tell you that Pigeon Forge now looks like the strip at Las Vegas, tons of lights everywhere, cars everywhere, and this is not heavy tourist season, yet.  It is really just about the first day of the official tourist season, as March 2 is the first day that the trolleys run.  We go have fresh catfish dinner, best catfish we have ever had the pleasure of.

Saturday, March 3, 2001

Breakfast is at Apple something or other restaurant.  Another HUGE southern breakfast. The grits were instant.  Booo hisssssssssss.

We head to Wears Valley and check out prices of land, the current crop of realtors, catch some gossip on the people we met years ago here.  We drive around, a favorite Stevens method of visiting Wears Valley.  We drive to the top of several of the surrounding mountains looking at the new homes balanced on the clifflike sides of the mountains.  The roads are so steep that we actually experience tire “slip”.  Cannot imagine driving up these roads with the least amount of snow.  One flake and it would be impossible to get up.  You could get down, but no promises if you would be in once piece after the experience.

After several hours of this we head back to the trailer, to care for the yorks and hoping to get on the net and do an email check.  This is when we discover that their phone lines will not allow me to connect.  Bummer.

We decide to go back out, and try and find the home of a guy Al used to work with.  Al has tried to call him, and gets a weird recording, about this number not being allowed to take incoming calls.   I remember many hours later, that this is probably a pay phone somewhere that will not allow incoming calls.  This does not bode well for finding the home of this guy.  We stop at a gas station and Al looks at a map, there are 2 roads in Sevier County with the same name.  He gets the directions to one.  Wrong one, but of course!!  HA HA.  So, we stop at another station and I look at the map, get the directions to the other street by the same name, and off we go.  It is just off “New Era” road.  I had remembered seeing New Era Road and thinking, what a strange name for a road.  Well, at least I knew where to head.  We find the correct street, and when we finally found the house, it had a sign on it with 2 surnames that were not the names of Al’s budy.  I’ll bet he moved back to Michigan.  We will try to find out later.

We then stop and have some dinner and then back to the trailer.  Tomorrow we again head out for Savannah, we might be taking another detour.  Will decide in the AM.  Also have to check out the weather reports.  Cannot be driving in ice.

OH, it has been raining.  We have found a leak in the bathroom vent.  A bad one.   This poor ole trailer is on its last legs.   Now, to find the $$ to allow us to move into a new unit. Soon!!  With a slide out!  And a roof that does not leak.

Sunday, March 4, 2001

I sleep in till 8:30 AM, no problem, as when I look out of the window I see, NOT MUCH!  It is very foggy, no driving in the fog.  By the time we have breakfast and pack up the fog has burned off and it is sunny and warm, almost 70 degrees.

We decide to drive I 40 to I 26, then south to Savannah.  We leave the campground about 11:15.  When we get to the North Carolina Welcome Center/Rest Area we grab maps, brochures and such.  Al decides he wants to camp in the mountains in Ashville.  We decide on a campground.  Looks like Savannah will wait at least one more day.

Driving distance today, was about 120 miles.  Whew, retirement sure is laid back!

The campground is definately in the mountains.  Built right on the side of one, steep roads and all.  It is rather new, the owner is from Howell, Michigan, well, he was from Howell, Michigan.  The campsites are FLAT, and LEVEL, that is a pleasant surprise.  And, the modem hookups WORK!  We set up, go for a little walk, grab the computer and go surfing.  Al decides to have a fire, and we cook a steak on the grill.  By now it is getting windy.  OH, they have cable TV here too, so we get a cable and hook up.  Holy, cow! Weather station!!  OH, NO, storms on the east coast and the west coast.  The east storm is kinda close.  OH NO, and we have no antifreeze in the water system.  OH, well, plan B, run a little water through the faucet all night so things don’t freeze.  The wind gusts are impressive, the trailer does a little rockin and rollin (and I don’t mean SEX).

I spend several hours doing INPUT, something that all my friends know I don’t particularly like doing, making me always behind in that arena.

When we arrived in Ashville it was about 57 degrees, by the time we went to bed it was 45 degrees, read on - - - - - -

Monday, March 5, 2001

5 AM, I am cold, need to go potty.  Do the second and grab another blanket.  Al wakes up, and mumbles something about how cold is it outside, wellllllllllllll  - - - - - - 32 degrees, and a thin coating of snow on the picnic table.  Brrrrrrrrr.  Water still running through the faucets so nothing frozen.  He decides he has slept enough and wants to take a shower. Brrrrrrrrr.   As I burrow into the blankets with the dogs he has a cup of tea and some breakfast.  I later find that he has deposited his tea bag in my pots and pans, one level above the trash can.  I also find that he closed the wrong end of the bread wrapper, effectively leaving the bread open.  Maybe his brain froze at 32 degrees??  Teeeeeee heeeeee heeeeeeeee.

Two hours later I get up, feed the dogs.  Now it is time for the yorklets to go potty, oh, my gawd, is it cold, really COLD!!

It is now 8:30, Al is now burrowed into the bed, sleeping off his 5 AM feeding and Gallagher is barking like there is no tomorrow, ticked off that no one will “play” with him. He is “bouncing” off the walls, so to speak, actually bouncing all over the couch, pleading for someone to “romp” with him.

Not sure we will leave here today, if not, INPUT for Carol.

By 10 AM we have packed up and are on the road.  We are praying that we can get across the mountains and into South Carolina before any more snow hits, or worse yet, freezing drizzle rainy stuff.  When we pull out on I 40 it is snowing, just a little.  After we have driven the 10 miles or so west (back to) I 26, the sun is starting to break through. Before long the sun is full out!!

I am dying for coffee, with cream, as I have not had any creamora in the trailer.  So, we hunt up a McDonalds that is near a gas station.  Boy, did that cup of coffee taste GOOD! YUM!  While we are eating, a guy walks up and asks us how the trailer is pulling in the wind.  He had just come north into the area, on the same road, we are about to head south on.  He is driving a small car, and states that the wind had blown him around pretty bad up on the mountains.  UGH.

OH, here is an interesting tidbit, the McDonalds we ate at.  It had classical music playing. That was a “first” for us, McDonalds and classical music.  Not that elevator stuff either, good stuff!

So after breakfast Al runs into the trailer just before we pull out of there and asks if I want anything, I reply, yep, a tranquilizer.

Over the mountain we head.  Actually we have the sway bars tightened down quite well, and only one time do we have any trouble at all.  WHEW!

We stop at the South Carolina Welcome Center, and find that the wind has blown down some trees and they have no power.  We hear that the winds were considered “gale force”.  Maybe it is a good thing we heard that AFTER we went over the mountain.

We decide to stop around Columbia South Carolina, this short day driving thing is becoming a bad habit.  Tomorrow we will get to Georgia, by hook, or by crook!   Today we drove about 145 miles.

We did a grocery store stop, pulled into a rustic little campground that is owned by a lady who until about one year ago lived in Ann Arbor Michigan. Her husband, Nick worked at Rawsonville and died in 1997 just after he got his 30 years in. Unfortunately he didn’t make his retirement like Al did.  OK, so there are more Michiganders down here than are left in Michigan????

We had dinner, and did some cleaning up, had a nice chat with the campground owner and now some more input. I gave Abby a bath - boy was she dirty!!   Later- - - - - -

Tuesday, March 6, 2001

Day starts out sunny and chilly.  It was about 36 degrees at 8:00 A.M.  Wind chill is 16 degrees!!  Well, at least the sun IS shining!

Last night I spent several hours reviewing files and doing input.  Found a few things I forgot I had and I DID the input.  One was an obituary for Martha Ann Sikes Bowen, my great great grandmother.

Today the drive was rough again, due to the winds.  In fact the winds beat us harder today than they even did yesterday.  The wind was so strong that it was blowing sand/dirt off the plowed, but unplanted fields.  Sorta like white outs, only they were sandouts.

We are camping in Statesboro, at the only campground in the area.  And you can tell, because the campground is very full, more full than any we have been in so far this trip. We arrived in time to set up and then get to the Statesboro Regional Library.  We hit the net and then I hit the research room.  Found some things I will investigate further in the next few days, I found 1909 map that shows Lotts Creek and Mills Creek and land owned by a Bowen.  In reviewing my files the last few nights, I see that many of the land deeds cover land on Lotts and Mills Creeks.  I was able to purchase a copy of the 1909 map. (Teeee heeeee heeeeee)

Anyway, I had a quick look at the library holdings, and when I get back I have some things I want to look at again, and copy.  On first glance on the holdings of the library, it appears that I have done some pretty good research in prior work.  So, that will let us do some driving around.

Well, we are tired, so, it will probably be an early night.  The forecast is that it will drop to around 30 degrees tonight.  Brrrr.  At least the wind has finally died down.  That is a relief.

Wednesday, March 7, 2001

We seem to have trouble getting an early start.  Oh, well.

The sun was bright, the skies clear.  Bit chilly.

A good portion of the day was spent at the Statesboro Regional Library doing research. Need to do research (hoping for cemetery data) before we go driving all over the county. I find some cemetery data, do a little census work on the Sikes family from Bryan County Georgia.  Al was very helpful, he made copies for me while I kept researching.

He had the truck checked out, there was a noise he did not like, something in the alternator, but nothing that needs to be repaired now.

Back here at the trailer, Al went for a walk, I laid around and did a little reading, junk stuff, not research.  Then I started doing input. YEP, gals, I really did.  I got almost all of it done toooooooooooo!!  How’s that for cool!

Oh, I found out that my great grandmother, Minnie Maud Remley Bowen was probably buried in the St. Andrews Cemetery, Darien, McIntosh County, Georgia. That is from one book, by Jeannette Holland Austin.  ( Funny, that is NOT what her death certificate from Virginia says.) OH, and the work “Cemeteries of McIntosh County Georgia” by the Lower Altamaha Historical Society in 1979, does not show her either.  Course, they don’t show Joseph Eugene Bowen either.  Another mystery, maybe we will drive down there, about 100 miles, give or take some.  I am pretty sure the graves are not marked.

Well, now that the input is done, I have about 6 obits I would like to find.  They do have some newspapers here, but they don’t have real early ones.  I think most of the ones I need they should have.

Tomorrow is supposed to be really nice here, so we will drive around the county and have a good look!

Thursday, March 8, 2001

Another sunny day, ooooooo, this is sooooooooo hard to take!  OK, I won’t rub it in for those of you still left in Michigan.

We started the day off at the library, well, not quite, we had to stop at the Waffle House on the way there.  YUM.  More grits!!  NOT instant, REAL!

Did not stay in the library long, I wanted to find Poplar Springs Baptist Church and its cemetery.  The directions were from 1980, well, I will let you be the judge:

“From Bulloch County Courthouse, go out North Main Street to Hwy. 80, turn left onto 80 West, go thru Portal 1.6 mi. from Portal Post Office; turn right onto paved road (pond on left prior to turn) go five (5) mi.; turn left onto dirt road (there is a Dempsey Dumpster at turn); go (1) mi; church is on left.”

First we notice that there are no road names AFTER the post office data.  And, who in their right minds would think that a Dempsey Dumpster that was there in 1980 is gonna be there in 2001?  Well, we have a current county road map, from the Chamber of Commerce.  It has road names on it, even for most of the small roads.  Out in the area west of Portal I found a Poplar Springs Church Road, the thought crossed my mind that maybe Poplar Springs Church MIGHT be on Poplar Springs Church Road.  Teeeeeee heeeeeeee.  Guess what, IT WAS!!

So, I have photos of the church and a number of headstones.  Kinda cool stuff.

We went in search of the home of Samuel J. Bowen, brother of my great-grandfather Joseph Eugene Bowen.  We had the right road, we had the right section of road, but we had NO house.  They were growing pine trees and cotton out there, the land is very sandy.

The area we were in was where the first Bowen’s settled just after the Revolutionary War, about 1784.  The first settler was Clifton Bowen, RW soldier, and the line I was granted DAR membership through.  The lineage continues, Mark Bowen, Hezekiah Bowen, Hezekiah Bowen, and his son Joseph.  Joseph married and moved to Savannah by 1895 when my grandfather Hayden was born.  Joseph did not return to Bulloch County for many, many years.

We drove back to Statesboro, Al went back to the trailer, and laid out in the sun and played with the yorks.  I went back to the library and did a little more research.  Found some more good stuff.

We went out to dinner to a fast food fish joint, and came back and loaded the photos from the digital camera to the computer.

Pretty good research day for Carol.

Tomorrow we might drive to Madray Springs in Wayne County (Georgia, NOT Michigan) or maybe to Darien, down in McIntosh County, on the seashore. Saturday we will probably go over to Savannah and on Sunday we will be going over to Tattnall County where Mark Bowen died, and where a distant cousin of mine lives.  Jane wants to show me around Tattnall.

I won’t get all the stuff I found today input before I collapse. But I think I will try to get some of it done, so bye for now.

Friday, March 9, 2001

Teeeeee heeeeeee, another day, where things did not work out as planned.

When we got back to the trailer last night we discovered that the electric cooler had either been left partially open or the cooling unit froze, and all the frozen stuff had thawed.  I had to cook a double batch of dog food last night.

This morning I started cutting chicken, and bagging meal bags.

I won’t go into the full detailed explanation, but we have discovered that I have 2 versions of Word Perfect on this computer.  Ok, so I don’t use it much and I forgot that Version 8 was on here. So, come morning, we decide to rearrange some stuff on the computer, and well, it took a little longer than we thought.  Nothing new there either.  

It was gray here, we had a very hard time getting moving, nothing new about that either. This trailer life turns me into a lazy camper.

We finally got the trailer picked up, dogs fed, computer packed up and out the door by about 11:30.  UGH.

We went off to the library to check email and take care of some business, then off to the local bar-b-que restaurant for lunch.  We did some serious map studying and decided that we will not go to Darien after all, well, at least this year.  We will do that next March.  So, due to the late hour of the day, I go back to the library, do some more research, found some GOOD stuff (and 80% of it is already on the computer!  did so last night) and Al went for a very long walk.

Back to the trailer, I do input, input, input.  I had one very long verbose obituary, too bad it is not on my direct line.  It was for the hubby of the sister of my great great grandmother. Some of my direct line, there are not even death announcements.  Figures!  Nothing new there either.

Al went out and did a little grocery grabbing, the electric cooler has been cleaned, defrosted and is back up and running.  I keep telling Al, we need a new trailer. For those that might not know, the “real” refrig in this unit died well over a year ago, we have a small Frididare in the hole left from removing the “real” frig and we use the electric cooler for the overflo of stuff we need to keep cold.  Course, that means we are walking around the electric cooler all the time.  

Well, one thing, we will really KNOW what kind of rig we want.  My vote is for a 5th wheel, with one slide out (maybe 2), and stuff that works, like the frig, clocks, furnace (oh, yea, we cannot run the furnace in this unit, as it does not burn the gas, make ya sick real fast) instead of the electric heater, furniture that has some padding left in it.  OH, and I want a place to permanently install dog crates, and store their gear, like one closet, just for them. Take the door off if necessary, I don’t care----- Ahhhhhh, dreams! Al votes for an enclosed underbelly that allows for the water pipes to be heated.  

Dreams, nice to dream at night.

Well, it was not the day we had planned, but not bad.

Retired, sure makes traveling different.

I need 3 months out here, at the rate (speed) we are moving. Al would say we are traveling, researching and such, at a “relaxed” rate.  Relaxed, whatever, I need MORE time! Guess that means next March we will be doing this again, maybe in a newer unit??  

Did you see that HUGE grin??

Oh, and a quick flora report, the wisteria are blooming here, so are the azalea.  And I noticed yesterday, that the flowering dogwoods are now blooming.  Flowering crabs have been in bloom, in fact, some of them are past prime and are into leaf.

Tomorrow, Savannah.

Saturday, March 10, 2001

Clear skies, again, oh, dear, not to brag, or rub it in, but this is tooooooo hard to take, NOT!!

Did the morning clean, breakfast, dog stuff and left for Savannah.  Took about 45 minutes to drive there.

We had lunch at a place called Lady and the Sons.  Great Southern cooking.  GREAT SOUTHERN COOKING!  Great beer toooo.

Then we find the Greyline Tour bus.  Only way to go the first time to a place like Savannah.

Savannah has “squares”.  Many have monuments, flowers, shrubs, trees, fountains.  The fountains are flowing with green water this week, next week is St. Patrick’s day. Savannah has the second largest St. Paddy’s day parade in the United States, second only to New York City.

Now, the flora report of Savannah.  BLOOMS!!  Azaleas are fabulous, especially the smaller, younger ones. The older larger variety are about to bust wide open.  The forsythia are past prime.  Daffodils are a little past prime, tulips are prime.  Dogwoods were fabulous, some of the most beautiful dogwoods I have ever seen.  Redbuds are blooming as well.  I am not a fan of roses, at least in my yard, but I saw some here, that I would be tempted to try.  They were a wonderful yellow, they were growing over the doorways, so as to form an umbrella over the doors.  Oh, my, they were something else.

We got off the Greyline tour down at the river, the Savannah River.  Walked around a little, in and out of some shops.  Back on the tour and back to our point of beginning.

Nice day, time to head back to Statesboro.

Got that little domestic chore out of the way for another week or so.

Nice day.

Sunday, March 11, 2001

We head out for Reidsville, Tattnall County about 10 AM.  We miss a turn, so it takes us one hour to get there.  Park at the courthouse, near the one and only stop light in Tattnall (that fact according to my cousin, Jane Mullins).  She meets us there.  We decide on lunch, then we are off to find cemeteries.  Lunch was very good.  Cemeteries, well, that took some doing, stopped at a few gas stations, got bad directions, no directions, then very good directions!

We find Mt. Moriah Methodist Church Cemetery, and find Elijah Bowen, Revolutionary soldier buried there, Elijah is a brother to Mark Bowen, my 4th great grandfather.  I suspect that Mark, who died in Tattnall County, as did Elijah, may be buried either in this cemetery or very near by.

We had no idea who was buried here, but, we were impressed with the condition considering that it was probably quite old.

We spent most of the day with Jane, a nice visit.

By the way, Tattnall County grows more Videlia onions than any other county in Georgia. We saw many acres of them growing.  Look like they are getting pretty big, so it won’t be long till they are in the supermarkets.  Al says YUM!!

Tomorrow, maybe Madray Springs, in Wayne County.

Monday, March 12, 2001

Gray cloudy day.  We get a very slow start to the day.  It is actually sprinkling, so we are already considering coming up with a different plan for the day.

We go to the library so we can check our email.  Then we go to lunch.  By now it is really raining, hard, and we decide that we really don’t feel up to cemetery tromping in the rain. So, after lunch I go back to the library and Al goes back to the trailer.  He plays with the yorks, and takes a nap.  I use the hours to find as much as I can on the Bowen clan. Actually I do pretty well, and have spent the last hour or more doing input.

Tomorrow we are heading for Walterboro, SC, well, I think-------- we change our plans so much, who knows till we get up!

By the way, it is 9:30 p.m. and we have the door open, it is so warm.  Tomorrow is supposed to be 78 degrees.  And there are storm warnings up, and flood warnings. Spring time!

Tuesday, March 13, 2001


We go to Waffle House for breakfast, gosh, I really love their grits, they have substance, not watery icky grits!

One quick hit at the Statesboro Regional Library for email and thank yous.

Back to the trailer to pack up.  Takes a little while, after sitting here for a week.  We pull out about 11:15 am.  We head south on 301 to the I 16, over to Savannah and then back north on I 95 to Walterboro.  About 110 miles.  Rather uneventful except for noting the large number of “death” crosses on I 95 in South Carolina.  There are two tractor trailers on their sides just inside the South Carolina line.  Both are within 200 yard of each other, one on the west side of the road, one on the east side.  We later learn that there had been a very bad accident there this week.

Our campground is in a stand of very tall pine trees.  The first site they give us has a concrete patio pad, that is about 4 inches tall.  It plays havoc with our attempts to “park” beside it, we are either tooooooo far away, or way tooooooo close.  Too close the stairs on the trailer will not go down properly, too far away, and we are in the mud.  Al is not real happy bout now, it is hot, nearly 80 degrees and I think he is tooooo hungry.  This set up does not go well.  OUCH!  He eventually picks another site, which has NO concrete patio. After much growling and moaning and groaning we are unhooked, dogs are in their crates in the air conditioned trailer and we go off searching, resources and food.  We eventually find a buffet and eat, MORE southern style food.  The menu is beginning to get old, we need to break the habit of buffet and find something else to eat.  Al is gaining weight!

We find the courthouse and the library.  Their library has just recently been renovated, it still smells of paint.  Their genealogy collection room is very nice, white, open, a little small in size, but appears to leave room for growth.  I am not sure they even have all the books re-shelved, as there are boxes on the floor.  Now, they need a collection to house there, a good collection.  Sadly, it is very lacking.  Very few family histories, not many local books, now I fully understand why it is so hard to research Colleton, there are no resources in book format.  The library has 4 Internet computers, and there is no uploading or downloading, so there will be no sending of travel logs from here.  Al has lots of trouble with the keyboards.  When I mention that to the librarian she mumbles something about funding and renovations and not having the $$ to buy new keyboards.  Am I wrong, but can’t you buy a keyboard for under $25.00???

We return to the trailer, feed the dogs and when I go to take them out find a stray dog roaming the campground.  She is a mix, part German Shepherd.  We will have to watch for her every time we let the yorklets out.  The campground office tells me she has pups, some where, and that they had her picked up once by the dog pound, and she is back. Poor thing is really ragged looking.  This is not the first time we have seen strays roaming campgrounds.

The weather reports for Thursday, 2 days from now, is for rain, possible severe, maybe even tornados.  That will help us determine what we do tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 14, 2001

Warm, sunny, very nice.  We decide to do some sightseeing instead of research. Tomorrow is supposed to be rainy, and I would prefer to be at the trailer with the dogs if the weather turns nasty, instead of 50 miles away.  Besides, what a great day for a drive, lunch, and sightseeing.  Rainy days can be spent doing input and researching library shelves.

I give Al the tour guide maps and books, pick a place I tell him.  So, he decides that Beaufort, South Carolina looks interesting.  We have never been there, and he tells me that my dad used to speak highly of Beaufort.  So, that is the plan for the day.

We leave the trailer, again, late, having spent the morning doing showers, picking up the trailer and quality yorklet time.  Gallagher begs for attention, and is so cute, who can refuse.  We gave him all the toys on the bed and then I laid on the bed and played with him.

Beaufort, is indeed a lovely town, right on the Beaufort River, lots of marshy land, the azaleas are blooming like crazy.  We find a parking spot, we have 2 hours or it is ticket time.  Al says, no problem, as he thinks they won’t even enforce.  HA HA, not 5 minutes later we see a bike cop busy writing tickets.  We will be careful about the time.  After a short look around town, reading menus as we go, we decide to dine on the outside patio at Ollie’s.  Al has seafood, blackened with rice and black beans.  I had pulled barbeque pork.  A bit spicy, but reminded me of Bessinger’s of Charleston.

After lunch we walk along the river, then through the historic home area of town.  Some nice houses, oooo, laaaaaa laaaaaaaaa.  We decide to drive to the end of Route 21, which is Hunting Island State Park.  It is right on the Atlantic Ocean, has a old lighthouse, the park is incredibly beautiful.  Lots of palm trees, the sand on the beach is hard, you can walk and run on it.  At lunch we were sweating in the sun, at the ocean we end up grabbing our coats, as it feels at least 20 degrees colder, the wind is chilly.  The lighthouse is made of iron plates all bolted together.  It was made that way, with the thought that it might need to be moved due to land/sand loss.  And indeed it was moved, back in the late 1800's.  The land/sand loss has been so great, that they think that by 2009 the lighthouse will be standing in ocean water.

We begin the trek back to the trailer.  There are 2 bridges that allow access to this area of islands, and one of them has a little problem, one we did not see earlier in the day.  The road commission is resurfacing the approaches to the bridge.  We get caught up in a HUGE traffic jam.  The police, we find out, are directing traffic, but the number of cars far overwhelms the roads and the police.  UGH.  One nice thing, at least we are on a pleasant residential street and get to look at some interesting houses. The delay is at least 45 minutes.  

We get back to Walterboro, arriving about 6ish.  We stop at Piggly Wiggly, and Wal Mart for a few supplies.  Back to the trailer and so ends the sightseeing episode to Beaufort.

Thursday, March 15, 2001

It started raining in the middle of the night.  I have a piddle pad on the bathroom floor for the dogs, it acts as a piddle pad for the rain.  By morning it is totally soaked.  AL, WE NEED A NEW TRAILER! Course, he turns to me everyday, and says, Carol, we need a new trailer.  

It is raining, raining, raining, raining, well, you get the idea.  Puddles everywhere. Thunder.  Not much wind, yet.

I am doing input, reviewing files and holding yorklets.

More later.

Well, it finally did stop raining, I think we must have been drenched with about 2 inches.  here are now lakes (they were puddles, till it rained MORE) everywhere, they don’t call this the Low Country for no reason!  We have Lake Lashbrook out in front of the trailer.

We go to Walterboro later, to the library to do research.  Courthouse, no records dated BEFORE 1865.  I do manage to find one deed.  That is all.  Then to the library, where I find a few cemetery records on Remley, not directly related to me, but I think it is the same family.  Also a couple of church records.  Not sure on those, a little more study and contemplation will be required on that.

Friday, March 16, 2001

The sun is out, the temps are gonna be warm today, almost 80 degrees.  Al and I decide we are gonna break out the shorts!!   Weather forecasts for the next week are in the 60's after today, so this is our chance to wear the shorts we brought along.   We are going to go to Live Oak Cemetery in Walterboro to look for some Remleys and Grants.  I am hoping that there might be an office to ask questions.  No such luck, but better luck. There are two gals from the local genealogical society doing a gravestone survey for a future book (sound familiar ?).  They were able to help me find a couple of Remley graves, none of which I can place in my tree.  We had a nice little chat, two very nice ladies doing some very valuable work.  A very pleasant encounter (thanks to Al, who suggested we go ask them if they could help us, which I thought was silly, till we did ask!).

After that we did a little sight seeing of Walterboro, checking out the downtown district, did a couple of antique stores, found a doll “bench” and a set of bookends with “world globes” that Al liked a lot.  We also had a ice cream sundae at a 1950's era drug store with a “soda fountain”.  What a blast from the past that was.

A quick stop at the library for email and we decide since the weather has turned so warm that we head back to the trailer, Al sits outside and I give dog bathes.  When I finish washing them, he walks them.  Gallagher and Captain Hook are now nice and clean and oiled all down.  The oil protects their coats from all this dirt and grime and helps to keep them from getting tangles.  I am not thrilled with the way they look when oiled down, but they will remain oiled until we get back to Michigan.  Chantilly and Abigail get all combed out, so everyone is looking pretty good.

Saturday, March 17, 2001

St. Patrick’s Day.

We are heading for Charleston.  The weather is supposed to be about 70 degrees.

Well, that was the plan.  And as has frequently happened, we changed our minds, about half way to Charleston.

We decided to not do Charleston after all, Al is not thrilled with the thought of fighting the crowds downtown, specially on a holiday.

So, we stop at Magnolia Gardens instead.  It has been many years since we have been there.  We spend the next several hours lazily walking the paths, ooohing and ahhhhing over the flowers.  The azaleas are lovely, many are in full bloom, a few, we note, have not yet begun to flower.  The camellias are in bloom, we have never been here when they are blooming, so we are really enjoying this.  We took a lot of photos, many with the macro lens on the Cannon.  I had the digital camera in the trailer, so if we wanted photos, it was the Cannon.  I’ll bet we took almost a full roll of film.  I think we had as much fun taking the photos as we did just being in this magnificent garden.

Back to the trailer we take the dogs for a walk, Al takes Cappy and Abby, the easy ones. I get the sibs, Gallagher and Tilly.  They never stop PULLING me around the park.  Several people stop us to chat, about the dogs, and Florida and camping and stuff.  The sibs are NOT happy standing around, as no one really attempts to pet them, boooo hisssssss, says Gallagher.  

I do a little input and family studying.  I discover I have some data and family members I did not know I had.  INPUT!  Have done enough input that I will do a backup tomorrow. That will be the third since we left home.  Not bad for a chick who “resists” doing that input.

Tomorrow, ???  If I say, we will probably change our minds anyway.

Monday, we are probably gonna head for Duplin County, Bowen country. Clifton Bowen moved there about 1738.  Don’t expect to find a lot as far as research, not sure just what I hope for or expect.  Surprise!

OH, Lake Lashbrook is now a murky wet spot.  Took 2 full days to get it drained to this point.  Way tooooo wet to walk on, but at least most of the water is gone.

Sunday, March 18, 2001

The day AFTER St. Paddy’s day.  Temps are cool, windy, brrr, after yesterday, a rude awakening.

We decide that despite the weather we are gonna drive over to Charleston.  We take a different route than yesterday.

We head directly for downtown, for the Market.  We get there despite the traffic changes, due to new roads and all the buildings being redone, many buildings have been torn down, and replaced with new.  Actually we were a bit surprised by that, as Charleston is so cognizant of their heritage.  We discover that the “Gourmetisory” is closed as is Swensen’s Ice Cream store.  How sad is that.

We lunch at a Irish Pub, the day after St. Paddy’s day.  What a lunch! We had shrimp with cheezy grits; and Sheppherd’s Pie, oh, my, the meat in the that Sheppherd’s Pie was unbelievable, we think it was heavy on the red wine!

Of course, we shopped, Al bought a new straw hat, I got a silver necklace with twin girls on it.  Wonder why?  Teeeeee heeeeeeee.  Al also got a new pocket knife.  He loves those.  The prices on Sweet Grass baskets have really gone up in 10 years.  Ones that I paid $25.00 for were well over $150.00.  UGH.  Did not buy any new ones.

Along the route to and from Charleston we looked at new trucks and new trailers. Educating ourselves.

While in Charleston we drove over to James Island on the new bridges and drove past my father’s home at 723 Waites Drive.  His 4th, ex-wife lives there now.  We did not stop.  A look was enough.  The house looks good, but the garage is suffering from neglect or termites, or both??

We were glad we went to Charleston, both admitting that we would have been disappointed in ourselves if we had not.

Monday, March19, 2001

I realize that I have a couple of things (research wise) that I have neglected to do, so I get up early, leave Al in charge of picking up and organizing and I take off for the courthouse and the library.  I find what I am looking for, well, part of it.  No obituary for Mariah Grant Remley, no film to even look at for an obituary for her hubby.  Did find some data on the plantation owner where Mariah’s father worked.  I check the email, quickly, and head back for the trailer.

We finish packing up and hooking up, and away we go.  Heading north on I-95.  We cross the line into North Carolina.

For lunch we choose a Cracker Barrel.  Worst meal we have ever had in a Cracker Barrel. So bad that I complain, and we end up eating for free.  That made it a little less painful.

We end up a long day’s drive near Pink Hill, Duplin County, North Carolina, about 255 miles from Walterboro.

The sun was shining all day, a bit breazy, but sunny.  Made for a nice drive.  Starts clouding up as we arrive.  It gets dark just as we finish setting up the trailer.  We have tuna fish sandwiches for dinner.

Tuesday, March 20, 2001, First Day of Spring

Al woke up in the middle of the night with a sore throat.  I give him some meds, and let him sleep in as late as he wants in the AM.

They are predicting rain, actually a noreaster.  It is nasty out there, cold, windy, spitting rain.

After a slow morning we head for Kenansville for possible research.  The county library is small, has a small research collection, which I finish off in a matter of about an hour or so. They have fast internet access, but NOT for email.  No email. No reading, no sending, nadda.  No one using the computers either.  Wonder why?  DUH.  Al gets on anyway, and he does look at his email, but decides after a few minutes that maybe he should not, so bails out of that.

After the county public library we head for the Community College.  More computers, no uploading or downloading, but can access the email. They also have a pretty good collection of film from New Hanover, Sampson and Duplin County North Carolina.  After much fussing with the copier/reader, I work over a couple of films, find evidence of 5 deeds in Sampson county records and 2 land patents that I was unaware of.  I also manage to get copies of 2 deeds.  As I am getting ready to leave I turn and see a cart of books, labeled, “For Sale, 50 cents each”.  Right on top of that pile is a world Gazetteer.  I doubt that this book is really for sale, but much to my surprise it actually is. I bought it, but of course! And I use it to look up several places before the evening is over.  More, teeeeeee heeeeeeee heeeeeeeee.

It is raining pretty hard by now, Al is feeling like crudola warmed over, so we go back to camp, after a quick grocery store stop.  I spend the evening doing input, using my new gazetteer, cooking dinner and strategically placing a bucket under the bathroom vent that leaks.  After the last storm Al took the vent apart and cleaned it.  So, now instead of two leaks, we now have one, and I can place a bucket under it and save the rug from further soakings.  Bedtime.

Wednesday, March 21, 2001

Well, we have just experienced our first noreaster.  A rainy one, not snow.  Asheville, North Carolina had snow, we saw on the weather channel this morning.  It was very windy all day yesterday, and cold enough that we hung two beach towels over the curtain rod behind the couch.  Brrr, it was chilly, and uncomfortable.  The towels fixed that problem. Now, the rain, well, it rained.  A bunch! Well, more than a bunch, more than bunches. TONS!  Seldom does it rain that hard in Michigan, usually it is a major thunderstorm, like at Gun Lake, where it hits hard, but is over in a matter of a few minutes.  Well, last night it rained and rained and rained, and forever.  Seemed like forever, but for certain for several hours. I had a fleeting moments thought, along the lines of, wish this was my pontoon boat, instead of my trailer, so when we float, we really float.  A storm we will not forget for a while.

The campground owner tells us that we received 3 inches.  They have a cypress pond/lake here, with a mill dam at one end.   It is stream fed, they can use the dam to control the levels.  They tell us they can drain the pond in 2 days and that it would take 4 days to re-fill.  They opened te dam last night and the pond still is somewhat flooded.

Off to Kenansville, to the courthouse, I get deeds, even the ones that were recorded in Sampson County, as I find in my research notes that Duplin obtained copies of these some years back.  I get 6 deeds.  After lunch and some groceries we go looking for a county map.  I had been told I could find one at the Department of Transportation.  NOT. No one even knew where to find one.  But one of the clerks was very nice and started calling around and eventually located the source, the Register of Deeds, where we were earlier in the day.  So, back we went.  One of the clerks came up to me and asked me about Holland Michigan and the Tulip Festival, she heard me say I was from Michigan in my earlier visit.

We take the map, HUGE, map, and compare it to earlier maps and my deeds.  It seems that the Bowen clan settled down around Rockfish Creek, which just happens to be in Rockfish Township.  The main town is Wallace, it is down near Sampson County, in the southern portion of the county.  Off we go.  We miss a turn on the way south, but it pays off, as we take another route on the return route north.  We pass a church and cemetery, and the name Alderman jumps out at me.  We stop.  Find many Alderman headstones and Highsmith headstones.  Both these families have inter-married with the Bowen clan. The church was formed in 1756, but there are no headstones near that early in the cemetery.  After my search in Georgia, South Carolina and now here, I am convinced that all the early settlers were buried with wooden crosses, and that all of their burial places are lost to their descendants.

It has rained a little all day, and continues to do so through the night.  I reviewed my deeds when I got back to the trailer, and of course, I need to go back and get more. Nothing new there.  Also back to the community college, as I thought I saw some church records there, and will look to see if the Wells Baptist Church happens to be one of them. That is where I found the Alderman and Highsmith headstones.

We spent a long time deciding where to go next, as the weather is a little cool.  Not sure we have decided but it is up the North Carolina coast.  Oh, they had 6 inches of snow in Asheville North Carolina from the noreaster.  Whew, glad we were not near there.

Thursday, March 22, 2001

Sunny, windy, but mild.

I go back to town, Al stays at the trailer, hangin out, and yorkin out.

I get more deeds, realize that I will need to find some land patents, as several questions come to mind when I study the deeds.

Back to the community college, there are some church records, but I don’t find what I am looking for.  DRAT!!  While I am there, I do a little credit card stuff.  Like determine the amount due on all of them, so I can send in payments before they become past due.

Then I go looking for a laundrymat.  Believe this or not, there are only TWO laundrymats listed in the county phone book.  And neither is in the county seat.  They are both at the opposite end of the county from where we are camped.  I had wanted to do the laundry somewhere where I could use as many machines as I needed, hoping that I could finish the chore a little faster than the last time.  Well, boo, hiss, best laid plans of mice and women.  BLAH!  I end up back at the campground doing laundry, in two very old washers and dryers.  Which actually do a very nice job, even tho they are old.  But it took several hours, and my plans to bathe dogs fell by the wayside.

After laundry, I do a serious cleaning of the trailer.  The floors are hard to keep clean, we are camped in very sandy soil, lots of pine trees.  Makes for nasty stuff on the floors.

Friday, March 23, 2001

We have decided to go to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for a couple of days, on our way to Norfolk area.  I leave the choice of campgrounds to Al, but try to remind him that it can be really cold there, and that the weather forecast for the next few days is, well, COLD!!  He decides against the expensive campground out towards Cape Hatteras. Good choice. We go to a little campground at Manteo instead.

We have sun all day to drive, that is always nice.  We stop near Greenville North Carolina for lunch.

We arrive at Manteo, Roanoke Island from Route 64, something new for us.  We cross Alligator River (BIG RIVER) and enter Alligator National Wildlife Preserve.  There are signs to NOT feed the bears.  And there are signs for “Bear Crossing”, sorta like deer crossing signs in Michigan.  Also something about Red Fox.  All the years my parents brought me here, and I never knew this was here.  Looks real interesting.

We set up and it is not long before Al is strongly hinting, OK, so he is DEMANDING, that we go out and find seafood.  The first 2 places we stop are just so expensive, meals starting at $16.00 and going UP!  UGH.  So, we go to Darryl’s, we ate here in 1996, and have a meal.  We end up sharing a sampler type dinner, and I get some extra vegie, and that does us.  Al is in seafood heaven.

Saturday, March 24, 2001

Sunny, gonna be warm today, forecast for tomorrow and Monday is COLD.  We decide to do some outside things today.  So, after showers, and dog stuff, we go out for breakfast, and end up at the Elizabeth II, a compulation replica of some of the ships that arrived here in 1585.  They have a board walk along a marsh, a small settlement, reminds me of the Plymouth Plantation, the ship, a museum and a movie.  We will save the museum and movie for tomorrow when the weather is icky.

We drive around some, Al of course is looking for more seafood.  He finds it.  Over in Nags Head.

After our late lunch we head down towards Hatteras.  We want to see that campground we did not go to and of course, enjoy the Hatteras National Seashore.  The campground, when we find it, sure is LARGE, flat and looks nice, but on hot summer day, not on a cold spring day.

We head back to the trailer, and find much to my dismay that Tilly had a little problem in her cage.  She is so messy that she goes to the play pen for potty, and then directly into the tub for a bath.  Al sets up the dryer and I wash.  Poor Tilly.  I end up deciding to medicate all the dogs with some flagile (SP??), which is an antibiotic.  Maybe I won’t have to come back to more messes tomorrow.

Not long and you know what Al is looking for.  Yep, more seafood.  I send him on his own search, I stay in the trailer with the dogs and have a few snacks.  Boy, can he eat!  I am full and he is screaming MORE seafood.

It is windy now, but it seems that most of it is hitting us on the front of the trailer, instead of the side.  So far, the temps have not dropped, we will see in the AM if the weather people were right or wrong about the temps.

Sunday, March 25, 2001

Well, an interesting start to the day, it is about 42 degrees out, it is raining, and sleeting, or hailing or something.  Those little balls of moisture are tinging on our trailer roof.  And I can see it bouncing OFF the roof of the trailer parked next to us.  Luckily, it does not last long.  Whew.

We hang around the trailer most of the AM, I do input, reviewing the Darden clan, they were from Isle of Wight and Nansemond Counties, (Norfolk) area of Virginia.  I find some good stuff I did not remember having, reviewing is always such a good thing to do!

About noonish we head for a restaurant where we have been told they have a great turkey lunch, vegie, stuffing, potatoes, corn bread, all for $4.95.  The service, was lacking, as we find it is in almost every place we eat on the Outer Banks, but the food was good.

After lunch, we go back to the Elizabeth II and the museum and such.  We don’t go out to the ship again, as the weather is frightful, brrrrrrr, this is the kind of stuff we wanted to leave behind in Michigan, wet and COLD, and today, windy.  But we do go into the Museum, which is very hands on for the kids and is so well done.  I have been to a few museums in my day, and this ranks way up there in quality of collection and quality of displays.  They also have a movie there about the Indians who lived in this area before the “white man” arrived.  Probably some what “enhanced”, but still interesting.  I discover that there is a research library at this site, which is of course, closed on Sunday.  Guess what I will be doing early Monday morning before we leave for the Norfolk area??

The cool weather has us yawning and we decide the trailer bed sounds very inviting, so we go back, and take naps.  Al takes a LONG one, I do one of those power nap thingies. I fall asleep for just a few minutes, and then wake, get up, cause I know there will be no more sleeping for me.  I do more input.  Lots, and tons of reviewing.  Enough input that I make my 4th backup of data since we left home.

Monday, March 26, 2001

Time for a flora update.  We have been following spring north, since Georgia.  Duplin County, the daffodils were blooming, the azalea’s were just budding out, I did spy a few magnolias and forsythia.  Again, as I noted before, not many forsythia, not near as many as I see in Michigan.  Now, the Outer Banks.  Whew, the daffodils are at their peak, I think I saw one or two forsythia, oh, the grape hyacinth are not quite peak.  It is hard out here on the Outer Banks.  Summer is HOT, and I think, that winter is 9 months long.  They don’t have this severe weather, 42, windy, wet and sleety stuff all winter long, but the Outer Banks ARE known for being a tough place to live.  And then there are those hurricanes to deal with.  My grandmother, Florence, lost her store to a hurricane, only I don’t know which storm.  That is what I hope to find at that research library this morning.

Well, I found what I wanted.  It was the Ash Wednesday storm of 1962.  The research was reasonably easy, but LONG.  Frustrating!!  For fellow researchers who know the “Burton” attitude.  Take that and multiply times 100!!  They did not present me with a “list” of holdings, which would have saved loads of time.  I had to ask this lady (who by the way, is NOT a local, at least not a local as far as the local’s are concerned, as she has only lived here since 1985), anyway, I had to ask her do you have, say, newspapers on film??  Yep, some.  She wanted to bring me papers, but how do I know which YEAR, if I don’t know the storm???  DUH.  And, she did not know which issues/years.  So, I ask her, do you have directories, well, not sure about that. After MUCH waiting, and me doing the slow “Bowen” burn, she comes out with some of those little books you get advertising an area.  You know, for tourists, we have this hotel, this store, this restaurant.  I find Florence’s name/store in about 1 minute flat.  In 1961.  So, she had wisely brought me 1960, 61, 62 and 63.  Florence’s ad was prominently displayed in 1960 and 61, missing in 62 and 63.  So, the storm that burned the store must have been the Ash Wednesday March 1962 storm. (OH, and I find out later that the lady has been doing the research for me, looking at directories in the store room and not bringing them out, cause she did not see the name.  UGH, I HATE THAT!!)  It took her so long that I could not stay and look for newspapers after I determined what storm it was.  I was thrilled to find the dates, the storm, but frustrated by the amount of time the research took.  Al tells me that there is a HUGE room back there, he looked while I was out doing a potty run, and that even frustrated me more.  There must be TONS of good data back there, and I have no idea of what.  Next time we are here, and there will be a NEXT time, I will use a different approach with them.

By now, we are both hungry, and Al is craving seafood again.  Not far from the library there is a “downtown” kind of area, with stores, and of course, restaurants.  We find a rather upscale looking place, and in we go.  And we wait, and we wait, and we wait.  Told ya, the service lacks a little down here.  Must be that the tourist season is JUST starting. In fact, there are many places that just are NOT open.  Not until sometime in April.  (I discover from my research, that Florence probably opened her store every year around Easter, and that is what I remember as well.)

Well, the wait for the food was worth it, thank goodness.  We were cranky enough with the service, if the food had been lousy, oh, well, oh dear! I have to go potty, and I tell you this, cause, remember, I said this is a rather “upscale” eating establishment. Well, I go to the bathroom, and find, that there are 2 stalls, one of which has NO DOOR!  You should see the decorations in this potty room.  NICE, expensive, and then no door!  BLAH!

We make a stop at a local bookstore, I purchase a book on houses (and types of housing) on the Outer Banks.  Apparently, the house that Florence lived in when I was very young is something special, of course, that does not surprise me, Florence did have a way about her. It was called a Flat Top, and was designed by a man Frank Stick, right after WWII.  I try to purchase a copy of a book written about the Hurricane of 1962, but it is out of print, I leave my name.

We head back to the trailer, finishing packing up, and make tracks for Norfolk.  We have to drive through Nags Head and Kitty Hawk to get out of here, and let me tell you, this place is building like crazy and looks so different than even 5 years ago, which was the last time we were here.  Amazing.  Not much looks the same.  Heavens, they even have a Tangers Outlet Mall thingy here now.

We drive for almost 3 hours to get to Suffolk (Norfolk) and about 110/20 miles.  We have found a campground near Suffolk, and it turns out to be a rather nice one.  We pay the weekly rate, and will stay here until next Monday morning, when we will head for Rockingham County.  I find they will allow me to use their phone lines to do Internet, so, I do! Slow connection, I probably will do the rest of my email from a public library.

I do some more reviewing, found some more stuff I did not know I had, and of course, this allows me to make a LONG list of stuff to go looking for.

Supposed to get really cold tonight.  It is cold, chilly even in the trailer.  Forecast is for 23 degrees at Norfolk.  Brrrrrrrrr.

Tuesday, March 27, 2001.

Sometime around 2 AM, Al discovers that it really is cold out there, about 30.6 degrees (according to our thermometer), and the water hose is frozen.  I know this bothers him, he is worried about the pipes in the trailer freezing.  He is restless, he keeps moving around the trailer, waking me several times, just after I get to sleep.  He cannot understand that a lady can be asleep with her glasses on and a book held upright in her hands.  Teeeee heeeeeee.

Anyway, when I get up, it is 28.2, or rather that was the low temp last night.  However, it is a crisp, sunny day.  Crisp, is right!  Sunny I can take, it is gorgeous!

The daffodils are blooming here toooooo, and some forsythia.  Today, research in Suffolk, I saw the cemetery I want to visit on the way in last night.  Later-----

First stop, the cemetery.  Oh, YIKES!  It is HUGE.  I have no map, and I cannot see that the sections are marked.  This is gonna be tough!  We drive down several rows, and do see names I recognize, some I know must be related, but need to do research to discover how.  We do not find any office, this is a little frustrating.  I do spy a HUGE Darden Mausoleum, which I will discover later in my research is indeed one I am interested in. Have a photo of it to, with Al peering inside, trying to read stuff. This is a frustrating search, so for now, I give it up.

Next stop, library.  Well, if I thought the Internet access couldn’t get worse, I WAS WRONG!!  This is a regional library, sorta like a county library, and it is the only one in the area, and it has ONE Internet connecting computer.  ONE.  And, I can use it ONE day a week.  ONE.  Course there is no uploading and downloading, they even have a lock on the A drive.  I choose NOT to use my day at this point, will do that later in the week, and spend a long time dealing with stuff then.  I look over their research collection.  Some newspapers, most early ones do not exist.  I need one for January 1st, 1900, they start January 5th.  Maybe I should look at it anyway, I might get lucky, maybe I will go back and do that.

A little detail that gives us heck today is the fact that they are repairing a railroad track on Main Street.  There is a detour, and that of course, makes for traffic problems.   It also makes it difficult for us to get our bearings and take directions to new places.

So, it is courthouse work for me.  This courthouse has burned THREE times, which everyone is delighted to tell me, especially the librarians at that poor excuse of a county library.  I know this, but today I want to do 1900 work.  Anyway, off I go.  We have to do the weapons inspection at the courthouse, and Al has a small pocket knife.  They have procedures for this, they take his knife and his keys (so, he cannot leave with out getting his knife back) and they lock them up, and then they give him the key.  Well, that is not the smartest thing, cause if he was bent on destruction or murder or maiming, couldn’t he just sneak back, unlock his knife and then sneak back around to do his nasty things?? Not sure, I must ask Al if that is possible, as I did not see where the “lockup” was.

After a tour of the records collection, I am set free to pull books and research to my hearts delight.  Let me tell you, this is a great place to work, don’t have to wait for clerks, just pull books, look, put em back if I don’t find anything, and go on to the next book.  They have records from Nansemond County, which no longer exists, as it was taken over by Suffolk, an Independent City.  For a number of years, you must check both sets of records, if your party lived in the city of Suffolk the records are there, but if they lived outside of the city limits, then the records are in Nansemond County, and of course, there are overlapping time frames, and well, it gets confusing, but I figure it out enough to do some pretty good research.  I am working on the Darden line, my great-great grandmother, Sarah, always known by Sally, Darden is the chick whose photo hangs above my stairwell.  She married Solomon B. Eley, in Isle of Wight, right after the Civil War ended.  Several of her siblings moved over here and they are the ones I plan on researching.  In a matter of 5 minutes I have found 2 marriage records, one for another brother of Sally’s (did not know where he was, now I do!)  They even have the marriage licenses and returns here, so that is what I get to photocopy, 50 cents per, thank you very much!

Al goes for a walk, stopping at several stores, talking with the locals.  I spend the rest of the day here, and am pretty happy with the results.  Back at the trailer, I do a LOT of input on this.  Don’t get it all in, but do get about 80 % done.

Gonna be another cold night, Al leaves the water running in the bathroom sink so that the hoses and stuff outside do not freeze.  Brrrrrr.

Wednesday, March 28, 2001

Cold, MUCH???  Nah, why would we think that??  They come close to a record low, only one degree about the record, it drops to something like 22 degrees.  It reads 27.1 on our thermometer.  Brrrrr.  At least the water lines did not freeze, but, the water heater did go out.  It is not frozen, thankfully.

Showers, breakfast, dog stuff, the normal routine continues.  Takes forever, one day we actually TRY to get out of here kinda fast, and after the normal routine and some dishes and dog food preparation, we discover it took us FOUR hours to get out of here.  Holy smokes!  We could do that in one hour at home, maybe 1.5 hours.  Ummmmph.

It is sunny, so we decide to drive over to Isle of Wight County, I want to see the place called ZUNI, which is where Lorena Eley (my great-grandmother) was born.  Small!  Very small.  The Blackwater River passes through here, Lorena told her children that she had fished there as a child.  We drive around a little, no churchyard cemeteries, no cemeteries that I see anywhere.  We drive towards the courthouse, looking for more cemeteries.  I find one, buried in some high brush.  No names I recognize.  It is the only cemetery I see, except for one church cemetery, which I had previously visited several years ago.

The courthouse at Isle of Wight is much same as Suffolk, open stacks.  I have worked here 2 times before today, feels like home.  Al leaves me to my own devices, and goes to the truck and takes a NAP!  The nerve.  I do really well, research wise, here, and leave behind $29.00 for copies (50 cents per).  And that said, I still leave having several huge questions unanswered.  OH, dear, another trip is required.

I am way toooooooo tired to even try to do input tonight.  Much of what I got today will take hours, maybe even an hour per document in some cases.


Thursday, March 29, 2001

Cloudy, cool, wet.

Back to the courthouse in Suffolk today.  Follow up research on stuff I found here on Tuesday.  I am pretty worn out from Isle of Wight yesterday, but still find some good stuff. Al goes off in search of Lowes while I work.  He has decided he really wants to put a refer in this rig, even tho we hope to be selling it soon, well, this year?? Anyway, he hears that they have one out at Lowes that will fit, electric, not a RV frig.  

After the courthouse, it is off to the library, I am going to take advantage of my one day a week use of the Internet.  NOT!  Oh, my gawd, it is reportedly down for repairs, and will not be fixed until April 9th.  I note, in a small fit of anger, that the librarians are surfing the net on their work stations, oh, and their monitors are those really expensive thin type monitors.  Couldn’t they purchase two net computers, for the “public” to use, for the price of one of those monitors??  Interesting. I go use the microfilm, searching for obituaries.  For several that I cannot get for there is no film.  But where there is film, I find all but 3.  I did not expect to find those 3, they were wild guess looks.   

Back at the trailer, we cook dinner, do dog stuff, I input one obit and then give over the computer to Al, he plays cards, I go to bed.

Rains hard all day and most of the night.  The bathroom vent still leaks, the trash can is put to use as a rain bucket.


Friday, March 30, 2001

Sun, maybe??  Well, yep, later in the day.

We decide on heading back to the Isle of Wight County, but via Smithfield, where we have never been before.  Turns out to be a great decision.

We come upon St. Pauls Church, which turns out to be the oldest example of Gothic Church architecture in the United States.    Very cool stuff, old organ, old baptismal font, just really cool!

We ask about seafood eatin for Al, and the docent tells us about Smithfield Station.  Sits ON the water, and the food is good.  What a nice lunch that was!

On to trying to find the local library, which was a chore, just finding it.  FINALLY, we do. We can use the computers, and the Internet, IF we can get them to work.  These are nice looking computers, and we can connect, but then NOTHING, NADDA, ZIPPO.  They freeze.  After about 5 or 10 minutes, we both give up that idea.

I ask about cemetery records, and am finally shown the little historical room.  Find a couple of things that are interesting, and then find out there is a rather new history of the area, and it is for sale at the Isle of Wight Museum.  So, guess where we go next, specially since I have found several references to my Exum Eley in the index of the book. I find another book, and one more I want, but don’t get.  Walk out with 2 books, pocket book a little lighter.

On to the courthouse, where Al actually comes in and helps me. It does not take me long, but I find a couple of good things, and a few that don’t make any sense till later, when I do some review and input.  Then I discover that a couple of the little items I had gathered, well, they gave me a HUGE picture.  Happy Dance!

We head back to the trailer kinda early, it has been 4 good days of research, my feet and legs are killing me, but it has been worth it.

Dinner, input for me, TV and yorkie time for Al.

Saturday, March 31, 2001

Chores day.

Yorkie bathes, that takes a huge part of the day.


Back to the Cedar Hill Cemetery, now that I know how some of these people relate.  I find all the stones I am looking for BUT one.  Still some work to be done on this cemetery, like who IS in that Darden Mausoleum??

Grocery store run.

Dinner, and drop into bed.


Sunday, April 1, 2001

Clocks changed today.

We have plans to meet Pearl Robinson today.  She is my first cousin one time removed. We spend a couple of hours reviewing our common history, she does her memories all from memory, as she is legally blind so finds it hard to look at documents.  I share with her my finds from Suffolk, on the rich Dardens.

We go out for dinner, Pearl never stops talking.  Gawd, what a hoot she is!  Everyone falls in love with her in a matter of minutes.  I will never forget how Trent reacted to her.  She won over the angry young teen in a matter of hours.  He fell in love.  I told Al he would too, and the first time he met her, well, he realized in a matter of minutes that I was right, and much to his surprise and delight, he too fell in love with her.  

We had a great day, loads of laughs, lots of memories and a much tooooooo small dose of Pearl.

Tomorrow we head for Rockingham County.

Monday, April 2, 2001

Sunny, clear, wonderful.  We don’t waste a lot of time getting out of Suffolk, as we have a long drive today.  It will be about 230 miles, give or take.  We head out Route 460 and find a great little road side restaurant for breakfast.

Drive I 295 to I 64 around Richmond, on to Charlottesville and over the mountains at Waynesboro.  We could see for 50 or 60 miles, Oh, how fabulous it was!

I 81 north to Harrisonburg, and the Route 259 in to Broadway, arrived about 4:30.  Set up, play with dogs, chat, visit, always fun here.

Cold tonight, I mess up and try to run two high power things in the trailer, and blow the fuse.  There is only one more and sadly that blows toooooo, so we are hooked up to an extension cord, and it is hard keeping warm.  Al finally comes to the bed with all his blankets and we cover with them all, and the four dogs, and manage to not freeze to pieces.

Tuesday, April 3, 2001

Oh, lordy, what a headache.  GROAN.

We don’t do a lot, later in the after noon the sun comes out and we go in search of the Holsinger Family Plot, over on Holsinger property.  We have looked before, but not been able to find it, so we decide this time we are going to leave a note.  It will work, in a day or so!

Nancy is cooking us fabulous meals, like usual.  YUM!!

Not so cold tonight.

Wednesday, April 4, 2001

MORE HEADACHE, this is not fun.

We drive to West Virginia, up to the Cove, looking for the Whitmer/Delawder cemetery that I know is back there.  We have sun, and stop for Turner Ham Sandwiches on the way, more YUM!!  Anyway, we drive all the way up the Cove, and we find the house, but after walking a long way up the hill, we cannot see a cemetery.  One of the houses is vacant, so I don’t feel toooooooo bad trespassing there, but there is another house, and it looks occupied and I don’t feel like tromping all over that property.

We then drive back over to Rockingham County, and went way way way way up the mountain to visit one of Nancy’s friends, Ruth Ritchie, a young 84 years old, and lives with no running water, a real, authentic out house.  Very interesting.

Down to the Broadway Diner for eats, and back to the house.

Headache never really went away all day, I sleep with a hot pad on all the really sore spots.

Thursday, April 5, 2001

The headache is MUCH better!!  Whew, don’t miss it.

I am going to Harrisonburg to the courthouse and to see Alva today.  I stop on the way in and do a few errands, have lunch, and end up not having much time for research.

Alva and I have a great visit, over an Expresso.  Took a walk over to the new library, showed Alva the twins on Troy’s web page.  Alva is going to be a great grandmother, and was not looking forward to it, I think she changed her mind.

Back to Broadway, the young man who lives on the Holsinger place has called and said he would meet us at about 5 P.M.  He shows us the burial plot, and the old barn on the property.  The barn was built sometime after the Civil War.  The first barn was burned down by the Union soldiers.  We stayed for a couple of hours, and had a wonderful time.

Back at the house, Nancy has cooked catfish.  Oh, WOW!!!

Friday, April 6, 2001

We start the day off with sausage gravy over bread.  Then we take a drive over to Timberville to see the new creamery, and have ice cream by 9:30 a.m.  Wicked!  YEP!!

It is rainy and well, we don’t do a lot, back and forth to the house, out to the Diner for lunch, a stop at the ATM, and for drinking water, back to the house.  Nancy built a fire in the fireplace, and several of us end up taking naps.  I work a little on the computer, making backups of all the digital photos I have taken.  I quickly run out of discs, so will do the rest when we get home.

More later, tonight we have planned to go listen to live blue grass music, and whatever else we can find to get into.

Tomorrow is the Heritage Day Festival.  Can’t wait.

Saturday, April 7, 2001

Brocks Gap Heritage Day.  Have not been in about 3 years.  Oh, such fun, posters on families, and mills, and schools, and floods and history.  Books, books and more books.  Of course, I buy a couple.  Visit with other researchers I have met before, that is always so much fun.  Met a few new researchers, one gal even came looking for me, that was neat!  I really need to do a Halterman poster, and do some input and research and get my act together.  So, next time I can make some kind of a decent presentation.

Afterwards, Nancy’s daughter has prepared spaghetti dinner for us, another good cook!  YUM!  Nancy goes to her bottle club meeting, I start organizing and packing away a few things, as tomorrow AM we head back to Michigan.

Later Nancy and I drive over past New Market to another blue grass jam session.  This one they are really strummin.  And the fiddle player.  Oh, dear, was he ever good.  Such sweet tones from a violin.  We stay till about 11 PM.

Long day, but so very nice.

Sunday, April 8, 2001

Get all packed up, and Nancy and TD both cry when we leave.  Glad we did not try to leave really early, cause there is fog.  Not bad fog, but nether-the-less, it is there, and I am not a fan of driving in the fog.  We head out to I-81, heading north.  We stop for a quick breakfast, and head on.  Cross West Virginia and on into Maryland where we pick up the I 70, west, thank you very much.  Heading to Breezewood.  There is an area on I 70 close to Breezewood that is famous for its FOG.  And it is foggy.  I am driving, but of course, standing joke, is that I have the luck of the draw, I usually get the really crappy driving.  Have to slow down quite a bit, cannot see, UGH, hate that.  Once you cross over the top of that mountain, it clears up, within 500 feet, the fog is ALL gone.

Stop in Breezewood for gas.  Al drives the next stretch of hard road.  We are on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  Pass the mountain tops in Bedford County and Somerset County.  These are the two long pulls with the trailer.  We slow down, to about 40 MPH, but the truck just purrs along.  We have been amazed at how well the truck does in the hills.

We drive about 230 miles, stopping southeast of Pittsburg.  There are no campgrounds past Pittsburg that are close enough to the turnpike.  We don’t want to drive 20 miles off the pike for a campground, so we chose one closer, and do not drive half way home.  Tomorrow we will have to do about 320 miles, but they are flat miles, should about equal out.

The campground is expensive, the sites are hard to get into, they are muddy, and will get more so, as it will rain tonight HARD!  But for now, the day is nice, WARM!  Shorts weather warm!  So, for the second time since we left home, we put on our shorts and we take the dogs for a walk.  The sun is shining, it is warm, it is humid, it feels really good. Kinda funny, we left Michigan for warmer weather and this is only the 2nd time in almost 6 weeks that we have been able to wear shorts.  Heavens, this last week in Virginia, we had heavy FROST!  Brrrrrrrr!

We have dinner, lay around, our last real day of lazy for a while.

Rain, tonight, hard, and ooooooo, my, the thunder.

Monday, April 9, 2001

Home bound!

Leave the campground, muddy, wet, inside of the trailer is soooooo dirty!  UGH!!  We pull out about 10:15 A.M.  Head back to the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  We see some fully blooming forsythia that are so wonderful along the pike.  Beautiful.

Today, we drive, make quick gas stops, potty stops, eat stops.  No nonsense today.  Ohio Turnpike, not many hills now, flat land, never fails to amaze me, you could lay a level on this farm land, and I would bet it would register, FLAT!   Totally flat!  Colder here tooooooo, as no forsythia, no buds on the trees, I do spy a few daffodils.

Each time we get out of the truck it is a different temperature.  Cool, warmer, COLD, warmer, windy, cooler, warmer.  What a challenge, never know if ya want the coat or maybe even the earmuffs.

We stay on the Ohio Turnpike till after Toledo, we head over to the 109 (Ohio), which turns into the M 52 (Michigan), which heads straight north to Adrian.

Home at about 5:30 P.M.  No hits, no errors, no accidents, no hospital visits, safe and sound.  The dogs are ecstatic to be home.  They run, they bark, they chase cats, Gallagher will not come in the house, he is so happy to be outside in his BIG play pen.

We unload most of the truck, and some of the trailer, tomorrow we can finish.

We are home to crocus in full bloom, the forsythia has not begun to bloom, at least not in my yard.  Maybe in town, where it is warmer.  The grass is green, so the worst of the “end of winter in Michigan” weather is over, just what I wanted to see!


I hate Michigan in March.  I love traveling in March, it was such a wonderful thing, the warmer weather (even tho we had rain and lots of it, and cool weather and more of that than we would have wished for).

Some of the areas my ancestors lived in are now some of the poorest I have seen. Duplin County North Carolina was really poor.  Depressing in some ways.  I have a hard time understanding how they farmed that land and managed to live.  South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, the areas we were in, were mostly sandy soil.  Pine trees grew really well.  Cotton too.  I will be doing some agricultural census work to determine what they actually farmed.

Many of my ancestors were undoubtably buried in plots marked by wooden crosses, as there are no record of any burials of them.  Many were probably in family plots on the family farm.  They are now lost to time, weather and my research.  Dust to dust, as they say.  That is sorta sad.

County maps, good ones, are a WONDERFUL thing! I think I am going to be contacting some more Chamber of Commerce people in several other counties, soon.

Living in an RV reduces one to the bare essentials of life, keeping warm, keeping dry (thankfully our leak was in the bathroom and not on our bed), sleeping, getting meals, laundry once a week at the laundromat.  Every thing takes longer, but life is simple, so it really does not matter.  You meet interesting people, you see different ways of life, you are removed from your comfortable cocoon of life.  Your horizons are extended.

The truck ran GREAT!!  Pulled just fine through the mountains, slower some places, but still UP!  We were a bit concerned about that, and were pleasantly surprised at how well it did run.

Staying for one week when we can is very nice, we don’t have to rush around to see things, and most campgrounds will give you a weekly rate, which is cheaper.  Nice to NOT move that rig every day, or even every other day.

We managed to travel through 10 states (not counting Michigan, or the ones we did twice), about 4000 total miles, ate our way across Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, and no one got hurt or desperately sick.  The pups had a little diarrhea, which we treated with out panic, as we had our emergency kit along, and it was well stocked.

I’m ready for another go at this next spring!!  This time, a couple of large research facilities are on my “got to go there list”.  Al has a list too, including a swamp in southern Georgia.  Swamp???  Shudder, shudder, maybe I can stay in the trailer with the dogs that day.