My first change to the RV

The RV, while it has been used, it hasn’t been made comfortable. It is a monotonous mix of beige, tan, brown, and more beige. Kind of depressing.

Also nothing has been done to make it more functional. No hooks, hangers, accoutrements. That must, and will change

While I have added hooks, hangers, baskets, etc. My first order of business was the kitchen space. When seated at the dinette it is what you see.

Ugly, dull, uninspired. I have several more adaptations to make, but this is my first change.

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RV Trip #2

We took our second RV outing. Apparently Winter is not a popular time to go RV’ing, at least in Virginia.

We ran across too many campgrounds closed for the Season. Still we were able have a fun adventure.

We got off a bit later in the day than we had intended but made our first destination in good time.

We got to the Newport News Park and requested a primitive campsite, what that means is one without water and electric. That’s the really cool thing about our Class C Motor Home, we can be stand alone and self sufficient. All the primitive spots were taken for Winter RV storage, hmpf! Which meant we had to pay for a site with both water and electric, so by gosh we used their electric.

Our a site, which was quite level, with services, and close to the James River, was cool. Lots of big trees, a view of the river, and not too far from some bathrooms, not that we needed them cuz we have that too. Anyway, first things first – we went for a walk about with the dogs before the sun set. Newport News Park is full of awesome trails, and they have rental bikes if you so desire. There are canoes, paddle boats, disc golf, and an archery course too. We were just interested in the trails, and the scenery.

So after a nice walk about we got the dogs fed, set up our camp, prepped the interior, and settled. Since we were so close to Newport News we still had cell service, and signal for TV. Yes, there is a TV, and a DVD player. We started our evening with some cheese, crackers and wine. Then on to dinner prep. I had a bunch of stuff pre-prepped, so we had a big spinach salad and some salmon. yummy. After cleaning up and securing from dinner, another dog walk, brrrrrrrr. Then Tom started playing around with the TV, I was hoping for a music channel, but he came across some news, then an oldie movie. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. It was fun. So overall a fun first evening.

Next morning after a walk about, we have coffee and oatmeal at the picnic table, we decided we need some stadium cushions cuz wooden benches are cold, and hold moisture. Then more walking about, and off we are for our next adventure.

I had intended to go to Plum Tree Island Wildlife Reserve, however They are not Open for Public Access, Due to sensitive habitats and safety concerns associated with past uses (bombs and contaminants). Yipes! So we are off to See The Cape Henry Lighthouse. To get there we need to pass over, and through the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel.

We had to stop prior to accessing the tunnel and allow an official to ensure our propane was turned off. Hmmmmm, I’ll have to research and find out the why? Unless one of you know.

Ok, so on we go to see that lighthouse. We get to the entrance, which is a Military Check Point. Tom’s VA card won’t get us in to be able to drive, and we can’t take the dogs. So I ask can we park outside the check point, leave the dogs in the RV, and walk to the Lighthouse. The answer is no. Is there any other way to see the lighthouse, again, No. Alrighty then. So we’re in Virginia Beach so I decide we should find a seafood Restaurant for a fresh seafood lunch. I go to Yelp for help on this. Get the name and address for one place, get there and they only have a buffet on Sundays, that doesn’t really include seafood. So 2nd choice, was a good choice, Dockside, not just a restaurant, but also a market, with a beautiful seafood case, and they have fishing tours. So a lovely late lunch, then off to Stewart Campground, right outside The Great Dismal Swamp. You’ll never believe, another Military outfit, that we can’t get in to. Bollocks. So we’re off to Chesapeake to find a place to park. Now it’s getting dark, it is dark, and it’s raining, low and behold, a monster shopping complex complete with among many other things a Home Depot, Walmart, and Cracker Barrel. We pull in, check if we can park overnight, we can, and there we stayed. So same routine, walk dogs, feed dogs, set up camper and prep dinner. The nights entertainment was the Elvis movie. I bought it on DVD. Rained all night.

So now it’s Monday, we discover we are also parked right outside a Dunkin Donuts, so we get coffees and breakfast sandwiches, and we are off to the swamp.

To get to the Lake Drummond entrance we must circumnavigate the Swamp, I take us the South route and we drive through North Carolina. We were really enjoying all the small roads, no Interstates, just State Hwys, and smaller. We get to the Swamp, walk some trails, take in the Underground Railroad pavilion, admire the lake, watch some young folks put a canoe in the water and paddle away, have some lunch, walk the dogs, and decide to continue on to see Bacon’s Castle. Well closed for the Season.

So now off to Chippokes State Park, why, because it is one of Ryan’s favorite places. He’s spoken about it several times.

Well, the park is closed for the season, so we just walk about a bit, damn chilly down by the water. We didn’t search for sharks teeth because we had the dogs with us on the beach and they aren’t allowed there so we didn’t dawdle.

We decide all this is a sign to come home. So we set off for home. The drive is really lovely, Route 10 most of the way, small, winding, pretty.

The nice thing about these short trips is we are learning a lot, about the RV, about this style of camping, about our space, how to accommodate the dogs, what we need… I told Tom I am enjoying traveling in the RV more than I thought I would. We are seeing a lot, we have our own stuff with us, we can make our own food, or eat out, our own bed, bathroom, etc. I definitely see the advantages.

And yes, while Tom does do most of the driving, partly because he is not the best navigator, I too drive the RV.

Bodies of water seen on this trip. The James River, several times. Lee Hall Reservoir, Atlantic Ocean, Chesapeake Bay, Willoughby Bay, the Elizabeth River, Lake Drummond, Burrel Bay, Falling Creek, Cobham Bay, and more.

Posted in camping, Everyday Stuff, RV Travel | 6 Comments

Who Knew?

Having lived a number of years in Yucatan, Mexico, between several flamingo habitats I have a love for the birds. In fact, I have flamingo sculptures in my yard, and pictures of flamingos as my desktop.

photo from –

AND, being a Virginian by birth I am accustomed to pineapples being a symbol of friendship and welcome.

Imagine my surprise when I recently discovered that the use of either of these, displayed upside down on or around your “home space” is an indication that you are Swingers.

Who Knew?

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Our 1st RV trip, the Shakedown

We are still in negotiations about what to call her.

So we took our first RV trip. It was only meant to be 2 or 3 nights, and not too far from home as we’ve never done this before.

The purpose of a shakedown trip is to familiarize yourself with a new RV, test out its systems, and identify any problems. It also gives you an opportunity to figure out how to organize your living and storage space, and what you need to purchase or pack from home for future trips. Typically a shakedown trip takes place at a campground close to home, or close to your RV seller.

I’ve been wanting to go to The Natural Bridge for a few years now.  I was there once, when I was about 15. Unfortunately I was hell bent on being miserable.  My grandmother decided we needed a trip together, and I did not want to leave my friends.  So the trip was a misery for both of us.

This trip was much better, Tom, me, and the dogs. But dang it was cold. We opted to boondock, meaning to not go someplace that had electricity and water, and just use our own.

We definitely learned some things; and while I had already started creating check lists, we definitely realized we need an operations manual. We will have to create our own as one did not come with the unit.

We did pretty good at checking the outside, and ensuring the inside was battened down before driving. But there really are other little tweaks you need to be aware of.

So day 1 our destination was Natural Bridge.  We got started a little later than we had intended, and it is definitely slower going in a RV.

We had been walking around at Natural Bridge and about 5 we decided to get something to eat so pulled in to Chaos Mountain Brewery which is just across from the Natural Bridge Park.  They have a food truck, and of course beer.  And really nice people.  We met some locals and they were very friendly and helpful after we realized we couldn’t get our generator to run.

So our first night was 26 degrees, and without heat because we couldn’t get the darn generator to start. We had decided we would head home the next day since we had no power. Wellllll, A button got flipped and we didn’t realize it till the next morning. Lesson learned.

So we continued-

We then went to Natural Chimneys which was really awesome.

We then drove to Luray for dinner. I had read about a convenience store, The Happy Mini Mart that makes amazing Indian food and wanted to try it. So why not! We got our food, ate in the camper, walked the dogs, talked about our plans, and decided to find a place for the night.

We utilized a Harvest Host and spent the night at Honah Lee Vineyard, in Gordonsville. Very good wine, we brought home a case, so one might say it was a very expensive camping spot.

Harvest Hosts is an RV membership program that allows self-contained travelers to overnight at unique locations around the country including farms, wineries, museums, breweries, and more! 

The 2 days had been very rainy, and cold but we, and the dogs managed it.  Rubi is a go with the flow kinda girl and is just happy to be going anywhere. Ceniza does not like change, so was less than thrilled with the experience, but she will adapt.

We opted to just come home on day 3. But it was a good shake down experience.

Now I am planning a 5-6 day trip, we want to ease in to this new adventure. If it just weren’t so darn cold.

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We’re going on an adventure

We, well mostly Tom, have been looking for an RV for a few years now. As you know Tom is our shopper and will hold out to get what he/we want, at a price he wants.

So finally, after two years of looking we found the right used RV that checked all the boxes and at the right price. What we have is a 2016 Winnebago Class C RV, a Minnie Winnie.

Tom negotiated with the owner for quite a bit and had the unit taken in for an inspection and to be winterized.

We then made a whirlwind triple travel adventure which needed to be done in three days due to our VA DMV three-day Interstate Transit Permit…….We flew, We Uber’d, and we drove.

We started with a 6 am flight to NYC, our first time into La Guardia.

Check out that Big Apple skyline from the airport.

Then a connecting flight to Albany,

Upon arrival in Albany we contacted an Uber for the ride to Guilderland to check out the RV.

All was good so after a thorough inspection of our own we completed our purchase and started the road trip home to Richmond!

Of course simple it couldn’t be………so we start out and get to drive through a snow storm with limited viz for over 200 miles. After over three and a half hours we got to Wilkes Barre, PA.

Having eaten breakfast in the Albany airport at about 7:30am, I was starving and requested a stop for dinner, this was about 7:30pm. Also, the weather was so bad and it was dark and I was getting quite nervous, also the snow was starting to build up on the hood and side mirrors. We decided to find a Cracker Barrel. They had food, were close to the interstate, and we could stay in their parking lot overnight.

After a pretty good rest we got up and headed off for home. 5 1/2 hours later we have the RV at home.

We were both so glad to get home! We are making lists of things to get, and places to go.

Let the adventures begin!!!!!

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Peppers anyone

I had a very good pepper harvest this year. Plus I got a lovely bag of other varieties from a friend.

The weather is turning so I’ve pulled the peppers, but left the plants, just in case. So now, what to do? Salsa, jam, roast and freeze, pickled, ….yum!

I did grab an induction burner so I can roast on the porch with lots of airflow.

Shooooeeeee, but roasting peppers in the house is lethal.

I think my weekend is planned.

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Sparassis crispa

Tom and I are foragers.

We especially like to forage mushrooms. I really like to collect greens, and edible flowers. Tom not so much

On Tom’s walk this morning he came back with some mushrooms he found on a fence post.

This is Sparassis crispa, aka cauliflower mushroom.

There are a number of mushrooms we like, these are one of our favorites.

Tom brought 2 chunks, not a lot.

Sadly, I didn’t think to take a picture prior to cleaning, cooking, and eating.

Tom made bacon for his breakfast today. After cleaning, tearing apart, and drying, I used his bacon grease to cook these.

I loaded some on a piece of multi grain bread, and had with my coffee.

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We have/had Covid-19

On 14 August- Tom had sore throat, dry cough, malaise. On 15 August – Tom tested positive for Covid, I tested negative. Tom started staying downstairs, mostly, but wore a mask when upstairs. I started wiping everything with Lysol, several times per day. August 16 Tom started taking Paxlovid.

Tom says he is now 99% back to normal. He still feels a bit not quite right in his lungs.

I have had Dengue, twice, Chinkingunya, once, and now Covid-19.

19 August I tested positive. 19, my current least favorite number.

I have to say the first Dengue was the worse as I ended up with such a high fever I became delirious and was speaking in colors. Don’t ask, I don’t know what that was about. Tom just commented that it was a colorful conversation. 🥸

This current Covid experience has been rough, but not horrible. Although I did spend an afternoon in the ER. Not exactly because of the Covid, but due to a side effect of the Covid.

I have allergy induced asthma. This causes upper respiratory infections to settle in my bronchials, and causes body wrenching coughing jags. As well as typically turning in to bronchitis.

Add to that –

I have an umbilical hernia. Have had it for 40+ years. (In a prior, and much younger life, I did construction tear down and removal)

Ah the fearlessness of youth!

I have always been able to keep the intestine pushed back in whenever it pops through.

After about the 3rd day with Covid the coughing became the deep rattling kind. That’s what did me in. It caused the intestine to pop out, and I think tore the tear open a bit more. Anyway, the intestine became lodged, out. I didn’t notice till it was WAAAAAY too late.

I have to say the pain of the encarcerated/strangulated intestine was pretty damn intense.

The hernia became so distended and tender I could not touch it. I could not sit, I had to stand, or walk. We went to ER.

At the ER, in addition to a bunch of tests and a ct scan they gave me an injection of dilauded, the dilauded decreased the pain enough so that the intestine was able to be pushed back in, without me causing injury to anyone. It was enough that the majority of the pain subsided, which of course meant I was dismissed. So, armed with a prescription for pain killers I was sent home. I had sincerely hoped to get it fixed, right then and there.

I have an appt with a surgeon, we will repair the hernia, and I hope to never experience this again.

Tom just retested, and he is negative for Covid. Guess I should re-test too.

Tom’s negative result
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Bird Watching

I, during the Winter months, and in through early Spring make a mix for the birds of grape jelly, peanut butter, oat flakes, peanuts, and raisins.

My pic.

Not only many birds, but also the dogs, and the squirrels love this mix as well.

I made another batch this morning, and within 30 minutes I’ve had Carolina Wren

Not my pic.


Not my pic.


Not my pic.

Eastern Bluebird

Not my pic.

Chipping Sparrow

Not my pic.

And a first for my yard, a Yellow Rumped/Myrtle Warbler

Not my pic.

And of course now the squirrels have taken control.

My pic.

I have a bluebird box that is used every year; it is currently in renovation by a pair of bluebirds.

I have wrens renovating several nesting offerings.

I have chickadees renovating the nest box out front.

Lots of differing finches, and sparrows are searching out suitable spots, I try to encourage them all.

And I’ve placed several medium size baskets around for the doves, cardinals, and whatever else wants them.

The cardinals seem to always nest out back, so I have several options for them, as well as several for wrens and chickadees.

I so enjoy having so much wildlife in my hood.

Posted in Everyday Stuff | 3 Comments

Slave holdings of the Johnsons of Sussex, and Surry Counties, Virginia

I am struggling to prove provenance on a line of my family through my maternal side; The Shepards (Shepard, Sheered, Sheppard, Shepperd)

Regardless of whether this particular slave holder; Moses Johnson Sr is my relative or not his will is significant in that the names of the slaves he is giving to his family members. Also that quite a few were given daughters, 3 of whom married Gilliam men.

Transcript contents of his Will that I found through

Will of Moses Johnson, Sr.
1763, Sussex, Virginia, USA

19 Nov 1763, Sussex County, Virginia, USA
In the name of God Amen, I Moses Johnson of the Parish of Albemarle and County of Sussex, being very sick and weak of Body but of sound mind and disposing sense and Memory thanks be to gd do make and ordain this my last Will and Testament in manner following. As to worldly goods which it has pleased almighty God to bless me with I dispose of my Debts and funeral charges being first paid, in manner as to the Persons following. First I give and bequeath to my beloved Wife Mary, during her natural life the third part of my Personal Estate and at her death to be equally divided between my six daughters hereafter named I also the use of three Negros Jacob, Cate, and Cloe during her natural life
Also I give and bequeath to my son William and his wife, during each of their natural lives the Plantation whereon I now live, and after their decease, to my Grandson James, son of my son William, to him and his heirs male Lawfully begotten for ever, but if my grandson James dies without male heir, then to my grandson William, son to my son William to him and his heirs lawfully begotten forever, but if my grandson William dies without male heir, then to my Grandson David, son to Moses Johnson, Jr. to him and his male heir lawfully begotten forever. I also give to my son William one Negro man Ben and one Negro Woman named Hannah to him and his heirs forever I also give to my son William Jacob,
Cate, and Cloe after the decease of my beloved wife to him and to his heirs forever. Also I give to my son Moses one Negro man named Peter and all other things I’ve possessed him with to him and his heirs forever. Also I give to my son Richard my Plantation in Brunswick County with a survey I bought of Benjamin Haygood with one Negro man named Collin, one negro man named Indy, and one negro girl named Patt, and one negro man named Hercules, with the stock and all that belongs to the said Plantation to him and his heirs forever but if he dies without heir it is my will that the land return to my grandson David son of Moses Johnson. Also I give to my son Lewis Johnson, one Negro man named David and all other things to which I’ve possessed him with to him and his heirs forever. Also I give to my Daughter Elizabeth Loftin all that I’ve possessed her with to her and to her heirs forever. Also I give my Daughter Mary Gilliam one negro woman named Kate and all that I’ve possessed her with to her and her heirs forever. Also I give my Daughter Ann Gilliam one Negro man named Peter and all the things I’ve possessed her with to her and her heirs forever. Also I give my Daughter Martha Gilliam one Negro woman named Jone and all that I’ve possessed her with to her and her heirs forever. Also I give to my Daughter Lucy one Negro Boy named Simon and all I’ve possessed her with to her and her heirs forever. Also I give my daughter Sarah one Negro Girl named Beck . . . . . . . . . . . and one Negro Girl named Agg one feather bed and furniture, four pewter dishes and 6 plates. but if she dies without issue it’s my will that Lucy may have Beck, and Martha Gilliam wife of Anselm Gilliam may have Agg to them and their heirs forever. Also I give my grandson David Johnson son of Moses Johnson one negro Boy named Tommy to him and his heirs forever. Also I give my Grand Daughter Ann Gilliam, daughter of Burwell Gilliam the first live child that my negro woman brings that I before gave to my son William in named Hannah to her & her heirs forever be it either male or female. Also I give unto Henry Harrison Gent. Eight acres of Land forming to his Mill according to the bounds laid off to him and his Heirs forever. Also my Will and defers is that two thirds of my estate which and household furniture be sold and the money arising thereon be equally divided among my six Daughters Viz Elizabeth, Mary, Ann, Martha, Lucy & Sarah. Also it is my Will after the decease of my beloved wife what she leaves may be equally Divided amongst my six Daughters. Lastly Thereby Constitute and appoint my two sons William & Lewis Johnson Executors of this my last Will and Testament, In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my Hand and affixed my seal this nineteen Day of November in the Year of our Lord God one thousand seven hundred & sixty Three. Signed, Sealed & Delivered: Moses Johnson. In the Presence of: Thomas (his mark) Gilliam, John King, John Gilliam.

At a Court held for Sussex County the 15th day of December 1763. The last Will & Testament of Moses Johnson, Decd was hereentered into Court by William & Lewis Johnson. The Executors therein named who made on the thereto as the last director of the ..was proved by the oaths of thomas Gilliam, John King & John Gilliam the winesses thereto by the Court ordered to be recorded you the motion of the ? from Certificate in ? there for affirming a ? due form.
Sussex County, Virginia Will Book A: pages 309-310.

Negroes named in the Will are; Jacob, Cate, Cloe, Ben, Hannah, Peter, Collin, Indy, Patt, Hercules, David, Kate, Jone, Simon, Beck, Agg, Tommy, and he gives the first live child of Hannah.

Moses Johnson’s wife; Mary Rose Collier

Moses Johnson’s daughters; Elizabeth (Loftin), Mary (sp=Hinchea Gilliam), Ann (sp=Burwell Gilliam, daughter Ann Gilliam), Martha (sp=Anselem Gilliam), Lucy & Sarah.

Moses Johnson’s sons; William (sons William, James), Moses Jr (son David), Richard, and Lewis.

Three daughters married Gilliam men; my Ancestry subscription ran out yesterday, so I am relying on alternate research methods. For this line I am looking here – not easy.. I may give up till next winter.

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