The Walking Dead – Alexandria and Woodbury

We are both HUGE fans of The Walking Dead, a television series based on a comic book series by the same name.  It is filmed in the Atlanta, Georgia area.  While on vacation, we took an afternoon to visit 2 well-known locations in the show.

“Alexandria” – the “town/community” outside of Washington, DC where the group ends up after attempting to get to DC.  Having spent a fair amount of time in the real Alexandria, Virginia region, we knew it wasn’t filmed there.  It is actual a small neighborhood in Senoia, Georgia.  “Alexandria” is a real community in Senoia.  The residents agree to have the walker wall in place – it’s probably for the best – can you imagine your neighborhood being overrun with crazy tourists???

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West Virginia – Beckley Coal Mine

While we stopped in West Virginia for a few days, we did a day trip to the City of Beckley to visit their Exhibition Coal Mine.  There are 3 parts to this site:  underground coal mine tour;  coal mining museum;  recreated coal camp homes and buildings.  Also on the premises is the Youth Museum of Southern West Virginia.  We didn’t visit the Youth Museum.

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Kansas – Largest Ball of Twine – Summer 2016

As we continued our day into Kansas, after having breakfast at the center of the country, we proceeded to Cawker City.  This town has about 450 people and the distinction of having the largest ball of twine!  Not much to say about this small town and this big ball of twine.  It was a big ball of twine!  Pictures taken June 16, 2016. Continue reading

Kansas – Center of the US – Summer 2016

On one of our vacation days, we traveled from Grand Island, Nebraska to Salina, Kansas.  (about 195 miles)

We entered Kansas!

First stop along the way:  The Geographic Center of the United States near Lebanon, Kansas.  At this cute little park in the middle of nowhere (wait, it’s the middle of the United States), there is a small chapel and a picnic area. Continue reading

The Carter House – Summer 2016

Like the Lotz House, the Carter House survived the Civil War.  It is located across the street (about 110 steps) from the Lotz House (according to their site) in Franklin, TN.  Here’s the official link and here’s the Wikipedia link.  These 2 homes are intricately linked:  Lotz purchased the land to build his house from Carter;  during the battle, both families hid in the Carter House cellar for about 20 hours.

The front line of the Battle of Franklin occurred on the Carter property.  The street separating the 2 houses would take a traveler to Nashville.  The Union troops were attempting to keep the Confederate troops from reaching Nashville.  Many of the surviving troops went on to fight in the Battle of Nashville just 2 weeks later.

The sad part of the story of this family was that a son Tod Carter had joined the Confederate Army.  He was marching toward Nashville when this battle started brewing.  Imagine being in his shoes – your home is just a couple hundred yards ahead surrounded by the enemy and you haven’t been home for several years.  I would have had a few conflicting thoughts – continue to fight or check on the family.  After the battle, his father asked if Tod’s unit was present.  It was.  He and his daughters and daughter-in-laws started searching for him among the dead and wounded.  He was eventually found, taken home, and passed a few days later, never regaining consciousness.

Here’s a video I found on about Tod Carter.

Coincidentally, both homes survived the battle.  Here is a picture of a building about 20 yards from the home.  This wall was facing the Confederate troops.  Look at all these bullet holes!

South facing wall of the kitchen.  This building was on the Union side of the front-line facing the Confederate army.


South facing side of an office building.  It’s amazing that after 150+ years you can still see all the holes.  It has obviously been painted but the holes endure.
Battle grounds showing how close these 2 homes were to the front.


Here’s a video describing the battle in the front of the Carter House  I found on (pretty graphic)


This video describes the aftermath of the battle – how the city endures found on

Lotz House – Summer 2016

This was the summer of the Civil War.  We visited quite a few Civil War sites.  The Lotz House (here’s the official museum link and  here’s the Wikipedia link) is in Franklin, Tennessee about 20 miles south of Nashville.  It was one of the homes at the front line of the Battle of Franklin (here’s a Wikipedia link).

This location had special meaning for us – John’s 3x great-uncle fought in this battle for the Union forces (Indiana Calvary), was captured, and taken to Andersonville (Fort Sumter), GA.  Andersonville will be a separate post.  We have an original letter written by Nathan to his mother, John’s 3x great-grandmother.

Our tour guide told the amazing story of this family as we passed from room to room about Johann Lotz, his wife, and his children, most notably his daughter Matilda Lotz.


We can’t imagine what this family went through during this battle.  To take refuge in a neighbor’s cellar for about 20 hours, not knowing what is happening outside, yet hearing it all.  The sounds of soldiers fighting and dying must have been horrendous.  No wonder Matilda made peaceful animal scenes.

Battle of Franklin.  Location of Lotz House in relation to battle – basically at the front!  taken from Wikipedia

The woodwork by Johann in this house is amazing!  He was truly a master woodworker!  His artistic ability is evident throughout the house.  Upon entry, the staircase handrail catches your eye.  It’s BEAUTIFUL!!   Pictures were not allowed to be taken while we were in the house but many can be found on the museum web site and elsewhere on the internet.

If you decide to take this tour, you have to also do the Carter House across the street to finish the story.

The videos below were published by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and are a good representation of the house and information presented during the tour.  I found these on

These videos may look alike here but they are definitely parts 1 and 2.

Part 1 – Lotz House


Part 2 – Lotz House


We are home!

We are home and now need to write about our 7 week adventure.  This post is very simple – a map showing our travel path with the campgrounds/RV parks indicated.

We tend to stay at KOA campgrounds for 2 simple reasons – they are usually close to the interstate or tourist attractions and they (almost always) have clean restrooms and showers.  Why dirty ours when they have decent ones??  Plus John doesn’t have to connect to the sewer.  Win Win!
While we really enjoy state/national parks, they don’t tend to have electric and water hookups.  With the medications Barb takes, dehydration is a serious concern.  She must have AC!  This summer had too many excessively hot and humid days.  We think this has been the worst year for heat.  We usually leave home to escape the heat.  This year home was cooler than any place except our last stop.  The only place that didn’t have hookups was Pi Pi campground in California (our last stop).  There was one day the temperature was in the 90’s but thankfully the humidity was about 15% and our site had plenty of shade.


Summer Vacation 2016 – update 1

So here we are!  Our first update of 2016 summer vacation.  Our starting point is the first place we stopped to get gas – Pilot Travel Center in Hesperia, California.  They are always cheaper than anyplace closer to home.  John makes sure we have enough gas to get us over the Cajon Pass.

Winnie wasn’t done with her service treatment until about 5 pm the day before we started.  Everything had to be completed and ready to go in one evening.

Day 1 started off early – on the road by 6 am.  We didn’t get into bed the “night” before until 12:30 am.  It was an early morning!   After 12 hours, Winnie had had enough and decided to blow a few tires.  Somehow when the first tire blew, it damaged the valve stem of the neighboring tire.  You can’t see it well in the picture, but it also destroyed the mud flap.  AAA showed up and had to tow us to the nearest town – about 20 miles away.  We at least had a pretty view while we waited.  We were able to put the spare on at the tire shop and fill the other tire with air.  It allowed us to make it to the next town for a little sleep.  We finally arrived at our first night’s stop about 10 pm.  LONG DAY! Continue reading