#23: Adventures in RV Travel – February 16, 2017

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The End of the Road

Hello everyone! Tonight, I’m writing you from our home in Kentucky. It’s exciting that now we have two homes, one in Kentucky and one in South Florida! I do love both places. The pictures above are of each place — Kentucky on the left, then South Florida. Both beautiful places to live for very different reasons.

Our RV trip to South Florida, then to the Florida panhandle, couldn’t have been more wonderful! In South Florida, we got to have a wonderful, month’s long, vacation. But, even more important than that, we got to buy a small place of our own on an island that we’ve loved for almost ten years. We love the island, the people, the environment  there. It’s a true “Jimmy Buffett” lifestyle. I feel like I’m living in Margaritaville when I’m there!

Then we got to visit the Florida panhandle for the first time. The panhandle may have the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen this side of the Caribbean. Nothing can top the beaches of the Bahamas and the Virgin Islands, but the Florida Panhandle comes close. Of course, our viist to the Panhandle was largely to see our friends, Marty and Phil, and we enjoyed that so much.

We did have one mechanical problem with the RV. For me, RV’s are like boats! It’s always something. Some small problem and there was one trip, one time (to New England in the RV) when there were several BIG mechanical problems. This time, for those of you who are RVer’s, it was the donut gaskets and my traveling companion replaced them within a couple of hours.

One WARNING to all of you RVer’s. Before you schedule a stay at a RV park, ask them if they allow you to make small on-site repairs if need be. The RV park at Carrabelle Beach on the Florida panhandle did not allow such small repairs. The RV park at Pine Island on the Florida peninsula did. It makes a world of difference if you have a problem. We had to find a parking lot as we left the panhandle and an owner who would let us stay for a while in order to make our repairs.

It was sort of a long, hard trip home. We spent a lot of time on two-lane roads, leaving the Panhandle and getting back to the Interstate where we needed to be. A good bit of that time was at night. There are very few services, these days, on two-lane roads since most services are found around the interstate highway system. We had to drive long distances to find places to stay. We were grateful when we had made our way to the interstate. Since we started our trip home late one night, we spent that night on the road and then another night, fairly close to home. We got home in the middle of the day today.

All of you RVer’s know what it’s like to unload an RV after a month long trip! It is not for the faint of heart! We have not nearly finished but we have stopped for the night. I’m going to have to get accustomed to the cold again before I can be out at night in what passes for a Kentucky winter this year. It’s 38 degrees here tonight.

I will look back on this RV trip as a huge highlight in my life! Part of the fun has been writing these blog posts almost every night for all of you. I’ve enjoyed knowing you experienced it with me. We will be traveling more and I will always include you in my travels!

Appalachia: Settlers of Eastern Kentucky in the 1700s

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The eastern seaboard of America was settled, as we all learned in elementary history classes, in the 1600s, by the English. For the most part, most scholars agree that these settlers were of the English middle class and even some of their landed gentry, seeking their fortune in the New World. The English liked the New England portion of America, the northern seaboard. Even the climate was suitable for them. They became fishermen and farmers. Even craftsmen had come from England and set up shop in villages and town that sprung up.

The climate of the southern coast of America did not suit the English. Planters discovered the agricultural value of the southern coastal areas. Slaves were imported from Africa to do the hard work in the hot sunshine. The plantation society was driven by the ever-increasing demand for the largest cash crop at that time — tobacco. When  cotton entered the picture as another important crop, the slave trade from Africa could not keep up and plantation owners turned to England to try to find work hands. They succeeded.

The cities of England were not pleasant places. Hygiene was poor and crime was rampant. England was ever so happy to get rid of some of its citizens who lived on the cusp of polite society. There were honest men seeking a better life ready to come to the sunny part of the New World, but there were also thieves, men avoiding  the military, and even orphan children. These were the people who joined the slave labor force on the plantations of the New South along the coast. Many became indentured servants.

Many of the laborers died on the plantations. Those who did not die served out their bonds, or escaped, and headed northwest, toward the cooler mountainous regions of what would be known as Appalachia.

Southern laborers of English descent were not the only source of population growth in Eastern Kentucky. Boatloads of Scots-Irish people landed in Philadelphia around the time of the Revolution. They were self-reliant, courageous people and struck out on their own westward, toward the mountains. A large number settled in Eastern Kentucky and thrived. Another route to the mountains, far easier than crossing them, was the Ohio River. Evidence is that large number of both Northern Englanders and the Scots came into Kentucky by that route with the Northern English prevailing. Irish can also be found by examining the names found in the region.

Mountain people. Mountaineers. Kentucky Highlanders. The Appalachian people, in general, and the people of  Eastern Kentucky specifically, are called mountain people by most of the authors of stories and histories about the region.  They became the distant ancestors of much of parts of present-day Appalachian and the Eastern Kentucky people. They came to the mountains in order to escape interference from government and to gain privacy from their neighbors. They began to farm the creek bottoms and live above them in caves, under rock overhangs, and cabins. They were some of the people who helped established this country, though in a limited geographic area, as these mountain people showed no inclination to move further west.

Watch this space for more on Appalachia and Eastern Kentucky.Mou