Day 55 Pikeville Tn – Salem Va – Home

Friday … thought we could get as far as Natural Bridges VA …  we only have approx 750 miles to go to end our journey. Had issues finding a campsite for the nite .. late in the afternoon .. decided to stop a Salem Va .. Dixie Caverns Campground.

Sat morning departure from Salem Va …



Sat .. left Salem campsite at 6:15 in the morning … early start .. 450 miles to finish line .. think we can make it home today… Made 4 stops during the day .. lunch .. rest areas .. After 10 hours of driving .. we made it ! It was a long day .. but .. we really wanted to be home…

Welcome sign encouraged us .. but .. we still had approx 2 hrs driving time left


Arrived home at approx 4:30..  unloaded truck and Casita in stages .. first .. unload .. second clean and put away our stuff… it was a very long day .. but .. at the end of the day ..we slept in our own bed after 2 months on the road .. it felt GREAT  !

No major issues with either GMC or Casita… although Casita was ‘bruised abit’ .. Alot of landscaping to do in yard .. grass/weeds have taken over .. pleasantly surprised that deer didn’t destroy our flower/plant beds .. Must have been that heavy dose of ‘Deer Scram’ and ‘Liquid Fence’ we used before we left. Indoor plants and house were all in good shape .. thanks to our home Crew .. thanks ‘guys’ ! Thanks to Nick & Leslie for letting us campout at your Tenn place .. we needed those 2 days of rest !

A few stats …per AAA our driving time (not including any side trips) was 89 hrs 49 min.. for a total of 5,852 miles. No issues/problems with directions .. time we spent with AAA in trip planning was well spent .. thanks .. Debbie !

Loop is complete !!!

casita finish 2016

Still haven’t totaled up any expenses … will post some numbers when we sort through the bills. Need to sort through MANY photos and video clips .. dashcam clips and time lapse clips … hope to condense everything in an online VIMEO video …. That’s going to be a big project … but .. it will be fun reviewing our travel adventures. We had fun .. endured some 100 + degree days in Utah /Arizona .. met up with old/new Casita friends .. and explored places we’ve never seen before …

Thanks for following us on our Casita Adventures.


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Day 53-54 Pikeville TN and Day 55 Salem VA


Catching up on blog .. went ‘dark’ for a few days …..

Spent 2 nights in Pikeville Tn at Nick & Leslie’s property .. They had campsite utilities all setup for us .. just needed to park the Casita … very convenient !! Spent most of our days relaxing and catching up with what’s been going on …  needed a few days of non driving .. temps continued to be warm … actually had some rain last night … haven’t seen rain in quite awhile !  Took a ride int Chattanooga TN .. for a quilt shop run and for lunch .. Well rested .. we left Pikeville this morning at 7:30.. heading towards Virginia … toying with the idea of making it home in 2 days ..  but .. that’s alot of miles to cover ..

Friday …. went from Pikeville to Salem Virginia … 350 miles … i 40E to 81 N .. we’ll take 81 N for almost the entire trip home … After today’s drive .. we’re ‘semi-confident’ that we can make it home tomorrow !! Wanted to drive another hour or so today … but .. had trouble finding campground .. tried 2 .. both filled up ..Need to cover approx 450 miles tomorrow .. but .. thinking we will leave early .. take our time .. and arrive home whenever … just want to be home before dark .. So .. if all works out .. this will be our last night at a campground !!! (for now) ..

salem current

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Day 52 Buffalo Tenn

Tonite’s Location….   note …. Our trip loop is almost complete !



280 miles closer to home … uneventful drive  .. a little messy around Memphis .. merges .. construction .. traffic cones everywhere .. Staying at a KOA in Buffalo Tenn.. just a few min off I 40 E… Not unhitching again tonite .. makes things alot easier in the morning.  A little reorganizing of truck and Casita .. and off to bed … All ‘business’ today .. no sightseeing or photos..

Next stop Pikeville TN to spend some time with Nick & Leslie and the ‘Canine Crew’ …..

Glad we’ve moved on from our Tucson campground .. we stayed in Oro Valley ‘Catalina State Park .. photo below is Oro’s temps this week … brutal ! Read that several hikers in AZ have died recently due to heat related issues ….



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Day 51 On to North Little Rock Arkansas

current map

300 miles closer to home …. long day on I 40 … No issues until we reached our campsite .. KOA mistakenly thought our reservations were LAST nite not TONIGHT.. so .. they charged us for $10 cancellation fee .. and if we did not show up today .. we would have been charged for the entire nite. They seemed a little reluctant about refunding our $10 .. but .. they will talk to owners and/or KOA.. Needless to say WE will followup.. need to make sure they don’t charge us for two nights instead of just one. Camp hosts appear not to be on top of things ….. Campground is full .. so .. I guess we’re ‘lucky’ we have a site for the night.

Father’s Day lunch/dinner at Cracker Barrel …. Blue Bell ice cream for dessert later tonite.  🙂

Driving all day .. no photos .. tired .. and will go to sleep early tonite … !

Tomorrow’s plan is to head to Tenn …..

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Day 50 Amarillo TX to Choctow OK

Another 270 miles closer to home … Left around 7 this morning .. thought we’d get an early start .. stop at a FlyingJ’s for gas and Denny’s for breakfast .. one stop shopping was the theory .. Not to be .. filled truck .. but .. no parking in lot for us so we could have breakfast. We have had this ‘issue’ with FlyingJ’s before .. most of them do not have dedicated spots for rv/travel trailers. So we backtracked a few miles and found a Cracker Barrel .. they ALWAYS have rv/trailer parking… it’s one of the main reasons we go there .. (biscuits is another reason !).  FlyingJ’s are NOT rv/trailer friendly .. even though they advertise they are .. sent an email to FlyingJ to advise them of what I think of their parking 🙂 To balance things out .. I sent an email on Cracker Barrel website (as well as spoke to onsite manager) as to how great their service was .. we were approached several times by different people (including manager) asking how we were doing .. do we need anything .. can they clear our plates .. etc .. everyone was friendly .. from waitress’s to cashier .. to folks working in their ‘store’ .. Quite a few times we’ve run into some unfriendly … grumps folks in stores and restaurants .. Cracker Barrel  folks were on top of their game !

After driving 90 min .. we pulled into an info center/rest area… very nice .. well kept and clean. Browsed some tourist brochures for the fun of it .. not thinking of anything special .. came across info about RT 66 Museum .. it was just off  I 40 .. a few miles down the road .. so we thought we’d check it out.

Actually .. we were traveling on a portion of Rt 66 (I 40) .. Alot of museums and restauranats going with Rt 66 themes in alot of states … posters .. tshirts .. pins .. hats .. etc .. etc . Rt 66 is a big business. Small but nice museum ..  in that Rt 66 goes from Chicago Ill to Calif .. this museum was built from a Oklahoma perspective .. Actually found another Casita in museum parking alot ..







RT 66 Diner opened up in 1956 in Shamrock TX .. (double click second photo to read story



Did you know .. Phillips 66 gas stations were named to cash in on RT 66 name .. very similar shield logo


Terri cruising in her red convertible ‘Vette !


Misc photos taken during our tour …









Staying at a nice KOA campground tonite … Choctow OK.. wide sites .. pull through .. individual/private showers .. No issues driving today until we got close to Oklahoma City … we could see alot of very dark clouds in direction we were heading … we haven’t seen rain in many weeks since we’ve been on the road … sky was split … dark clouds around us but there was a small patch of clear sky in between them .. we could see lightning and hear thunder on both sides of us .. as luck would have it .. we only encountered a short burst of heavy rain for a few minutes. Rain came at a bad time in that we were in some congested areas .. fortunately .. storm went around us .. and we stayed dry while we setup Casita … very lucky ! We can tell weather is getting more and more humid as we travel East .. miss that ‘dry’ heat .. 100 + days in Utah and Arizona … NOT !!!!

Tomorrow we head to Arkansas .. next day we should be in Tenn !

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Day 49 Santa Fe to Amarillo TX

284 miles on the road today .. switched over to Central time zone.  On I 40 E for almost the entire day .. (as we will tomorrow and the next day)….  A little problem getting a campsite reservation .. Fri.. weekend coming up .. Father’s Day.. finally found a place in Amarillo ‘Overnite RV Park’ .. not the greatest .. but we are not unhitching and will leave first thing in the morning … In that reservations may be tricky .. we went ahead and made reservations for tomorrow nite at a KOA in Choctaw Ok.

Got settled in at our campsite at around 3:30.. Found out that there is a shuttle service from campsite to a restaurant called ‘The Big Texan’ .. we’ve seen numerous billboards during our ride up .. so we decided to check it out .. especially in that we do not want to unhitch tonite .. Shuttle driver picked us up and drove approx a mile to restaurant..   Very Texas touristy .. food not great .. but atmosphere was ‘interesting’ .. Split a meal (small steak) and salad and a dessert …

An attraction is that if you can eat a 72 oz steak with all the trimmings .. you do not pay .. if you can’t finish meal in 60 min .. you pay $72… Saw a few guys try it .. not even close to finishing the meal .. one guy left with 2 doggie bags he had so much left over. Before a challenger starts .. announcement is made he’s read the rules .. he gets to take a bite to ensure steak is to his liking .. entire crowd cheers .. the clock countdown starts !!!

Shuttle .. nice horns on the hood !


You are probably  thinking ‘what does 72 oz of steak look like ??



Inside was all out Texas decor  ..




One of the challengers .. (we left before his time was up).. he just started .. he had 57:12 min left



Two  more challengers at the table .. both unsuccessful


Misc photos …







‘Time Out’ box for ‘troublemakers’  🙂


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Day 48 Santa Fe ‘The Plaza’

Spent most of the day in downtown Santa Fe .. focal point is a green park ‘square’ in town called ‘The Plaza’ .. Shopping to had for several blocks around ‘The Plaza’ ..  Local native craft venders are lined up with their jewelry .. pottery .. fiber crafts .. etc .. etc .. Numerous clothing stores .. Art galleries .. Sculpture galleries and gardens.. and of course many restaurants in the vicinity. We would have liked to have been visiting during the weekend .. when many more venders and live bands perform on The Plaza.. but .. for a week day .. there were quite a few people milling around.









Alot of churches around downtown .. one of the most interesting was the ‘Loretto Chapel’ .. beautiful architecture .. and an amazing story about it’s staircase to the choir loft. Church was built in 1870’s .. seems as though a conventional stairway could not be built because it would impact seating capacity of church. As legend has it .. on the last day of prayers by ‘The Sisters of Loretto’ a mysterious carpenter arrived to design and construct a circular stairway ! Tools on his donkey were .. a saw .. a T-square .. hammer and tubs to soak the wood. ‘Miraculous stairway’ contains 33 steps in two full 360 degree turns. Stairway has no center support nor is it held from the side .. it’s full weight rests on the final tread. Upon completion .. carpenter disappeared .. no records found for any materials purchased.. Originally built with no railing .. 1880’s a railing was installed …. How was this ever designed and built … no nails .. just wooden pegs. There is no known duplication of this design .. Engineers and Architects still marvel at it’s design.. Needless to say this is a very popular tourist attraction .. all seats in Church were almost filled.







Other random photos from today’s visit..




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