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RV Life (55)

Friday, 08 February 2019 19:20

Replacing RV Floor Covering

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If your RV interior is starting to show its age, especially but not necessarily only underfoot, consider new floor covering to make it look—and feel—newer.

Chances are, your RV has carpeting that shows its age where foot traffic is heaviest—definitely by the entry door, probably near the bathroom, and possibly where traffic routinely flows.

And then there’s the color. Color analysts from different industries actually sit down every year and decide not only what colors will be the “it” shades for the coming years, but even what the colors will be called. That’s right: There are people actively planning to make your carpet, draperies and furniture obsolete simply because of the colors they are.

On Being a Slave to Fashion

You can always say, “No, I’m not getting rid of perfectly good carpet.” After all, who’s going to enter your RV here at Crossing Creeks RV Resort & Spa and say, “Your colors are so outdated.” What they’ll say is, “Oh, Charlie, look. Remember when we had carpet that color?”

If carpet is worn from lots of boondocking or trips to the shore, you have choices in recovering your floor tastefully.

New Carpeting

Look for short-pile, closed-loop carpeting because it cleans up well, but you certainly don’t have to. You’ll save hundreds of dollars if you can find a remnant, often avalable at carpet store, discount stores and odd-lot bargain outlets.

You’ll have ample choices in color, whether you go with solid or a heather that gives the look of a solid but shows a little more life. If you’re having movie stars over, choose red. (OK. Just kidding.) When keeping your furniture, keep in mind the fabric on them. Get carpet swatches if you can and lay them on the fabric to make sure there’s no clash. If your furniture is solid, a pattern carpet might work. But be careful, since RV floor space is, all things considered, small enough to be overwhelmed by too busy a print.

Then choose between roll carpet, which must be stretched tightly before it’s stapled subfloor, or self-adhering carpet squares, also called carpet tiles. Laying roll carpet can be trying, including physically, but it’s possible to do it yourself. The fewer seams, the better looking the results. Make sure to snug seams so they disappear. Sometimes taping seams underneath with carpet tape helps.

Installing carpet tiles is easier. They’re often used in offices and sometimes in below-grade family rooms. You’ll have to scrape off the remnants of any previous floorcovering and pull staples so the subfloor surface is smooth and clean. You’ll also have to find the center of the floor and strike perpendicular chalk lines, starting at the center and working toward walls and furniture. That way, carpet squares in the center of the floor, where they are most obvious, will be full. Cutoff carpet tiles will be near walls or cabinets.

Short-pile carpet cleans up well. Spills, mud and sand come up easier than with plush carpet. Wet spots will dry faster.

Laminate Floors

Laminate floors have been round for about 35 years. They are laid over a thin foam pad but are not nailed down. The rectangular slats, which are high-density fiberboard with laminate coverings resembling wood or grouted stone, snap together to become one giant slab. Seams are barely visible. Laminate floors must have about a quarter-inch of play at the edges so they can float with temperature and humidity changes. Edges get moldings to cover the gap.

Installation isn’t particularly hard. You will need a chop saw to shorten some pieces and a jigsaw to cut around wall protrusions and cabinets.

When you’re done you have a wood-look floor that’s water- and mud-resistant but not waterproof. It cleans up easily from spills and tracked mud, and salt and sand don’t soak in. Dogs may need a little time to get used to its lack of traction for their claws, but they will, and claws won’t scratch it—not even after a decade of use.

For a little more color, warmth and cushion, you can spread an area rug over top, with a nonslip layer in between.

Vinyl Plank Flooring

Vinyl plank flooring comes in two types. Both, after installation, appear similar to a laminate floor, with a wood grain look.

One style of vinyl plank is a floating floor that’s installed over a thin foam pad. Floating vinyl planks adhere to one another, but not to the pad. The second type installs more like traditional vinyl tiles, with a peel-off back that exposes an adhesive that sticks directly to the plywood subfloor.

Vinyl planks are easier to work with than laminate. They cut with a utility knife. No saw is needed.

Vinyl planks are waterproof and impervious to mud, sand and salt. They won’t stain easily and wipe clean with a sponge mop or, after a spill, with a paper towel. They hold up well against claws.

Photo Credits: ciker.com

Wednesday, 23 January 2019 19:04

Crossing Creeks RV Leak Prevention, Repair

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When water gets inside an RV, the problems it causes are a lot bigger than each of those tiny drops.

Some water damage is easy to see because it marks interior surfaces.

Other water damage is harder to see because it’s inside walls, ceilings and floors. Framing can rot. Sidewalls can delaminate. The hidden damage may be the most sinister because it may include unhealthful mold.

Water can enter an RV anyplace the outer shell is breached—and an RV has many breaches, some intentional, others not.

Here are the places leaks are likely to occur:

  • Roof and roof coating
  • Skylights and vents
  • Mounts for accessories, such as solar panels, antennas, ladders and horns
  • Windows
  • Doors, both entry and storage
  • Utility hookups
  • Corner seams

Leak Prevention

Every four to six months, check any Dicor coatings over seams and around equipment mounts. Look for cracks, both large and small.

Also make it a habit every four to six months, during prolonged good weather, to pull a few screws. Many screws are under decorative covers, which you’ll have to pry off gingerly to avoid breaking. (The older non-metal covers are, the more likely the sun has baked them into a brittle state. If you break a cover, replace it.)

On campers with corrugated siding, be sure to check some screws on corner moldings.

Look over the backed out screws. If the threads are rusty, water is entering.

You also should check your EDPM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) roofing. You don’t need to re-seal the roof surface, but you should clean it with a medium brush and mild detergent that does not contain petroleum distillates every six months. Keeping it clean will allow you to better identify any breaks or weak spots.

Leak Detection

The most obvious sign of a leak is a water stain on an interior wall or ceiling, or delamination of cabinetry where water soaked it. Mildew or mold also may appear. Unfortunately many leaks simply don’t show on a surface.

Water migrates inside walls and ceilings, so the leak may be in front of, behind or beside the damage. For that reason, try to detect leaks on the exterior. One method is a pressure test. You can pay to have this done by a dealer or shop, usually for $200-$250, plus a labor charge if the shop does the repairs.

During a pressure test, compressed air is pumped into the RV. Soapy water is sprayed onto seams—around windows, doors, roof-mounted equipment, essentially all the areas listed above. If air is escaping, the soapy water will bubble. The same gaps, though quite small, that let air out probably let water in.

You can perform an air test yourself, even without specialty equipment. Make a hard cover for a small exterior opening, such as to a storage area, and cut a hole to accept the end of a shop vacuum hose or leaf blower outlet. Insert the hose and duct tape the connection, log with the edges of the patch, turn on the pressure and spray the soapy water, then look for leak-indicating bubbles.

Another method is to spray canned smoke inside where you suspect a leak, and have another person outside to look for escaping smoke.

Leak Correction

Frequently, all that needs to be done where Dicor is cracked is to plug the cracks with more Dicor, applied with a caulking gun. Clean the surface first with a rag dampened—not soaked—with mineral spirits so the new Dicor will adhere. Dicor, which is self-leveling, seeps into the cracks after it is applied.

Warning: Mineral spirits can harm EDPM roofing, so apply sparingly. The best thing to do is wipe areas where mineral spirits were applied with a cleaner that does not contain petroleum distillates.

If there’s a crack in the EDPM, Dicor is compatible and can be applied to seal the breach. Use the same procedure as for cracked Dicor.

Also look for loose Dicor. It would probably cause a major leak around mounts or large breaches, such as for vents or skylights. Remove loose Dicor and the item it’s sealing, then reinstall and reseal the accessory. If there’s evidence of water damage in the ceiling or in sidewalls, spray with a disinfectant, then dry everything out with heat and lots of airflow before reassembling and installing a new bead of Dicor and screws. Dicor is compatible not only with EDPM, but also with wood, fiberglass, plastic, steel and aluminum.

Replace rusty screws in the proper size. Coated screws will be less prone to rust.

If you’re sealing corners, consider a tape such as Seal-Tite. Once you’ve removed the insert trim, which hides screws, remove the screws, molding and old sealant, such as tape or putty. Stretch the pressure-sensitive side of the flexible tape over the opening, being sure to close gaps due to the irregular surface of siding. Then replace the cleaned molding coated with underside beads of sealant along the two edges, and new screws. You may want to add new insert trim in the molding for better looks.


Tuesday, 05 February 2019 18:39

Georgia Tiny House Festival

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Tiny houses are all the rage. One-bedroom and even no-bedroom homes with all the amenities of home—but a fraction as big—are the darlings of shelter magazines, lifestyle websites and TV feature shows.

And you have to admit, they’re pretty neat. Don’t take our word for it; check out diminutive domiciles at the 2019 Georgia Tiny House Festival in Macon, GA, one of the biggest and best-attended festivals of its kind in the country. The show site this year is bigger, at Central City Park in Macon, GA, a little over three hours from Crossing Creeks RV Resort and Spa.

The show runs from 9 a.m., Friday, March 1, to 5 p.m., Sunday, March 3.

All for Charity

The Georgia Tiny House Festival, presented by the United Tiny House Association, Eatonton, GA, is in its fourth year. The primary purpose is to spread the word about the benefits of and choices in small housing. Proceeds from the show, which charges admission to attendees age 13 and older, helps local charities. Children 12 and under and military/first responders, past and present, enter free. Seniors receive half-off at the gate.

Everyone gets in free at 5 p.m. on Friday, March 1.

Primitive RV campsites are available for either one night or two, in either small (10x20 feet) or large (20x40 feet) configurations. You will be boondocking; be prepared.

Details below.

What’s a Tiny House?

A tiny house, depending on the unit, can serve for off-grid living, on-grid living, wilderness living, or urban living, according to the Tiny House Association.

Some tiny houses—think destination trailers—are built on chassis and have wheels and tires for towing. They may resemble traditional travel trailers, small cabins or cottages. Destination RVs have plumbing and electrical hookups just like more conventional RVs. Some also are set up for boondocking. Destination trailers are well-appointed, typically with a living/dining room, possibly with sleeper sofas in the living room, kitchen with full-size refrigerator/freezer, bath, laundry and queen-size bedroom. Some have a second bedroom or stairs to a loft bedroom suitable mostly for children. Many have small porches.

Destination trailers are just that: trailers best used at one site you may rent long-term or own, such as at Crossing Creeks. (Not all examples will be allowed in to all facilities, so check with management before you buy.)

Many Shapes, Sizes

Tiny houses come in many more shapes and styles. Some are factory-built and intended for permanent onsite use, with connections for well pumps and onsite sewerage. Others are conversions of things as widely divergent as shipping containers and school buses. If you’re laughing at the thought of shipping containers, you’ll be interested to know that some conversions are so high-end that they make it onto the pages of slick architectural publications.

At the 2018 Georgia festival, which was the world’s third-largest event displaying tiny houses of all types, 92 tiny houses were on display. That number is expected to grow this year. The tiny houses on display are open to tours, including some that are lived in full-time but are shared for three days with the curious.

School Bus Conversions

Converting school buses has become so popular that the show’s workshop on the subject is sold out. Keep the workshop in mind for next year. Even if you don’t want to convert a school bus, a type of RV that some parks don’t allow, what it teaches about electricals, structure, plumbing, cabinetry and furniture-making is valuable to many RV owners looking to do some of their own maintenance and improvement.

Workshops, Talks

Admission includes talks and workshops by people who’ve studied small houses, manufacture them or live in them. These events are scheduled daily.

2019 Georgia Tiny House Festival

  • Venue: Central City Park, 115 Willie Smokie Glover Drive, Macon, GA 31201.
  • Dates: Friday, March 1-Sunday, March 3, 2019.
  • Hours: Friday, Saturday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Cost:
  • Friday, 12-4 p.m., $10, age 13 and older.
  • Friday, 5-8 p.m., free all ages.
  • Saturday or Sunday, $20 at the gate, age 13 and older; seniors, half off
    at the gate.
  • Saturday and Sunday combo: $35 at the gate, includes admission both days, age 13 and older.
  • Discount tickets: online in advance until Feb. 28, 2019; Saturday or Sunday, age 13 and older, $15; Saturday and Sunday, $30.
    Free admission, all times: Age 12 and under; active/retired/discharged military, law enforcement, and on-scene first-responders with valid photo ID
    Dry campsites: Limited number, available in advance online: small, 10x20 feet, Saturday night only, $27.37; small, 10x20 feet, Friday and Saturday nights, $48.47; large, 20x40 feet, Saturday night only, $43.19; large, 20x40 feet, Friday and Saturday nights, $80.12; up to six people per trailer, each must have event ticket age 13 and older
    Directions: Macon Central City Park is just over a 3-hour drive from Crossing Creeks RV Resort and Spa
Wednesday, 30 January 2019 18:22

Crossing Creeks RV Resort Mileposts: So Many Places To Go

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If you need a few reasons to stay at Crossing Creeks RV Resort & Spa, or to own an RV lot here, all you really need to do is check out a few mileposts.

Crossing Creeks is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains in northeast Georgia, very near the state’s highest point. It’s seemingly removed from the hustle of the everyday world. It is, in every sense of the word, an escape. Hiking, fishing, canoeing, biking and many other activities are as close as you could possibly want.

And yet Crossing Creek is a stepping stone to history and culture, including beautiful cities in several states. If you’re on your way from the mid-Atlantic, Northeast or Midwest to Disney World, the Universal Orlando Resort movie theme park, Cape Canaveral or any other Florida attraction, Crossing Creeks is a great place to stop for a night or a few days. The full-service RV campsites and spa facilities, including a pool, will get you refreshed before you head out on the final leg to your destination. (Sure, you can stop again on the way home.)

Crossing Creeks truly is a destination in and of itself, but don’t forget to consider how much there is to do within hours and even minutes of the RV resort. Check out a few mileposts to see just how many great places to enjoy are less than a day’s drive away:

Fishing: A few feet. Rock Creek in Blairsville and other streams have trout waiting to be caught. Lake Nottely, 9 miles away, has lots of bass, rainbow trout and black crappie.

Boating: 9 miles. Lake Nottely has more than 100 miles of shoreline. Boaters love it as much as the anglers do.

Spectacular views. 20 miles. Brasstown Bald is the state’s highest point, and it’s half an hour away. The viewing deck offers a sightline that stretches well into North Carolina on a clear day, and as far as the Atlanta skyline to the south. The fall view is breathtaking.

Appalachian Trail: 24 miles. The nation’s best-known and perhaps most beloved marked nature and hiking trail is so close. You’ll find several well-marked day hikes along the Georgia section of the AT. The trailhead is only 48 miles from Crossing Creeks on Springer Mountain.

Whitewater sports: 26 miles. You’ll find whitewater many places west of the fall line in the Georgia mountains. The nearest spots are around McCaysville, a neighboring community to Crossing Creeks. A unique whitewater experience is in Columbus, GA, which has the world’s longest stretch of urban whitewater kayaking and canoeing—2.5 miles of whitewater passing by the city skyline. It’s 217 miles away.

Culture, Nightlife: 124 miles. That’s the distance to Atlanta, the social and cultural hub of the Southeastern United States. One of the nation’s oldest cities, it is steeped in history and filled with museums. And yet its downtown and trendy neighborhoods, including Buckhead, bubble with nightlife and fine restaurants. There’s a whole, big, glittering world just 2 hours away from Crossing Creeks.

Peanuts: Probably inches away. Peanuts aren’t hard to find in Georgia, where so many are grown, but especially in the sandy soils east of the fall line. Try some boiled—that’s the Southern way to prepare them. And check out the National Peanut Museum in Tifton, 289 miles away.

Vidalia onions: 288 miles. Vidalia and the region around it are known for the nation’s best sweet onions. Only onions grown in that specific region of Georgia can be labeled Vidalia. You’ll find them everywhere in Georgia from late summer through fall. See how they’re grown and visit the Vidalia Onion Museum.

Peaches: Everywhere. Only in Atlanta could you meet at the intersection of Peachtree and Peachtree. Buildings, streets, parks and neighborhoods are named Peachtree. All around the state are real peach trees. Once the harvest starts, you’ll find your way to great places with peach ice cream, peach cobbler, peach pie, peach preserves and just wonderfully fresh, sweet peaches. And you’ll do it over and over again.

Movie sets: Around the state. Scores of movies are shot in Georgia, or at least partly here. Some you might have heard about or seen: “The Mule,” “Black Panther” and “We Are Marshall.” A new film production studio is under construction in Atlanta. Casting agents advertise occasionally for extras. Keep an eye out. You may be able to watch a movie being filmed—or be in one!

Fine wine: 7 miles. Odom Winery is the closest—it even has a Blairsville address—but there are more than two-dozen wineries nearby, enough to make a nice tour and tasting, or maybe even two.

Golf with the gods: 378 miles. Myrtle Beach, SC, is about a 6½ -hour drive, almost due east. So, yes, you can play Myrtle Beach, replenish yourself at Crossing Creeks, and then head to Florida without going out of your way. Good deal.

Major League Baseball: 102 miles. The Atlanta Braves are playing in Sun Trust Park, in just its second year, a few miles north of the city. The stadium alone is worth the trip, but we’re talking about the defending National League East champs here. Established big league stars and exciting up-and-comers are less than 2 hours away.

Country music: Probably around the corner. It’s not hard to turn and hear a fiddle being sawed, a guitar being strummed or a banjo being picked. Any bar with entertainment around here has country bands.

The Best County Music: 232 miles. Nashville and its Grand Ole Opry are a four-hour drive from Crossing Creeks. Hit the saloons and hear ’em before they become stars.

NFL football: 114 to 230 miles. Take your pick: The Atlanta Falcons of the NFC play in Mercedes Benz Stadium, 114 miles away. The Tennessee Titans of the AFC play in Nissan Stadium in Nashville, TN, 228 miles away. The NFC’s Carolina Panthers play in Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC, 230 miles away.

NBA basketball: 114 to 230 miles. Two of the cities that have NFL teams also have pro hoops: Atlanta has the Hawks, and Charlotte has the Hornets.

NCAA sports: Everywhere you turn. Blairsville is within a reasonable distance of several Southeastern Conference teams, including the Georgia Bulldogs, 91 miles away in Athens; and Atlantic Coast Conference teams, including the Clemson Tigers, 89 miles away in Clemson, SC. There are many other lesser known schools with affordable competition in a full line of indoor and outdoor men’s and women’s sports. Many of these events, outside of football, are inexpensive.

Savannah, GA: 372 miles. One visit to Savannah will convince you of two things: It really is one of the country’s most beautiful cities. And one trip is not enough.

Charleston, SC: 339 miles. That’s right—Charleston is a half-hour closer than Savannah. Charleston, one of the country’s oldest port cities, is known for its friendliness and hospitality, and it’s a looker, too.

There’s a lot more to do and see, but we’re going to stop now. We don’t want to bore you ... not that we could.

Tuesday, 08 January 2019 09:29

RV Party Tips for the Super Bowl

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The Super Bowl is in Atlanta on Feb. 3, and although the Falcons won’t be there this year—they didn’t even make this year’s post-season—having the game in Georgia ought to be a good enough incentive to host a Super Bowl Party.

Whether you’re watching the Super Bowl in your RV, outside your RV or in your home, there are some things you should make sure to do so you can enjoy the party and the game.


You can go three ways here:

Generic. Decorations that use football themes—goalposts, yard line markers, footballs, officials in striped shirts signaling a touchdown—are cheaper than items with team names. They can be reused every year and for college games, too. Try windycitynovelties.com for a mind-boggling assortment.
Team colors. Get the colors of your favorite team or both opponents and have at it with colored plates, crepe paper, balloons and beads. Make sure your plates are good and sturdy.
Insignia decorations. You’ll pay more for these, with either the Super Bowl LIII logo or with team-specific logos. If you buy team logos, and one is New England, at least you know they have a good chance of coming back every year to use up your leftover items. Seriously, check out Party City.
Bonus idea: Get yellow paper napkins, and lots of them, so guests can toss them like penalty flags every time somebody jumps offside or interferes with a pass. Some may even wipe sticky fingers with them.

chili american heart associationSeating

Have a comfortable seat for everyone. Arrange chairs so everyone not only has a good view of the TV, but also can get up and down easily to get more food and drink.

Plates, Cutlery, Cups

Make sure everything is sturdy. Cups should be plastic and big enough to hold a full beer or mixed drink, but not the flimsy red cups—not with all the fist-clenching that’s done during this game. Cutlery should be functional—probably the clear deluxe types, or even the heavy-duty coated versions that look like metal utensils but are really strong plastic. Plates should be resistant to grease and sturdy. You’ll have fewer accidents—like food falling off a fork onto a guest’s sweater, or plates and bowls collapsing under the strain of your chili and staining a carpet or upholstery. Chinet has a good assortment of disposables that get the job done stylishly.

Convenient Menu

You want to see the game (and the commercials), not spend three hours at a stovetop, even if you have a couple of hot dishes. Look for recipes that cook up well in a slow cooker, which will not only cook the food with minimum fuss but also keep it warm. Slow cookers are compact and efficient. These days, they’re also surprisingly inexpensive. Buy an extra one if need be. Slow cookers take up a lot less space than a chafing dishes and sterno heaters, and they come in different sizes. Fox Sports has good Super Bowl slow cooker recipes online. Serve an assortment of cheeses, crackers, chips, dips, pretzels and sandwiches. Today.com has 50 suggestions for all types of Super Bowl Party foods.

Emergency Kit

Stuff happens. Make sure you have these on hand: extra paper towels and stain-lifting wipes in case of fumbles, and antacids, just in case someone decides your chili was a bad call.

Image Credits: American Heart Associates, Party City

Friday, 04 January 2019 20:12

Great Model Railroad Displays To Visit In Georgia

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All aboard! Next stop: winter and spring fun at model railroad displays round the state of Georgia.

If the holidays got you to thinking about that model train display you painstaking assembled as a kid, you can scratch the itch courtesy of several model railroading clubs scattered around the state. Many have winter or spring shows that welcome the public.

Gone are the days when the Georgia Railroad, Seaboard Railroad and the Atlantic Coast Line moved tons of freight and thousands of passengers every day. The spirit lives on, though, in displays by model railroaders and in collectibles from the days when rails ruled transportation.

If you’re a full-time RVer, you certainly don’t have space for trains. (If you do, send us a photo—we’d be fascinated! Under the platform bed, maybe?) If you’re a part-time RVer, maybe you still have some trains at home and just miss them. (Yes, people with model trains love them that much.)

Choose Your Gauge

Whatever gauge you prefer, you’re bound to find it at one Georgia display or another:

  • O scale: 1/45-inch, the scale of the classic Lionel trains with three-rail track
  • HO scale: that’s “Half O,” or 1/87, pretty much the standard these days, with two rails
  • S scale: 1/64, the measurement of the American Flyer trains, with two rails
  • N scale: 1/168, about half the size of HO, to-rail track
  • TT scale: 1/120, about halfway between HO and N

56th Atlanta Model Train and Railroadiana Show and Sale

Here’s a place to see six working model train layouts, and buy items from more than 300 vendors, including trains from Lionel, American Flyer, Marklin and Ives, the old Standard gauge toy trains. Tables feature tons of model railroad items and railroadiana—signs, lanterns, tickets, timetables, dining car china, and more. It’s been going on every year for more than half a century, so you know it’s a good one. The venue is new this year and bigger than the previous site.

  • Date: Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019
  • Time: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Cost: $9; tickets online; $1 discount at www.gserr.com/shows
  • Place: Infinite Energy Forum, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth, GA 30097
  • Directions: Figure on an hour and 45-minute drive from Crossing Creeks RV Resort and Spa.
  • Parking: Free in any of several onsite lots.

30th Annual Model Railroad and Train Show, Savannah

The Coastal Rail Buffs’ 30th Annual Model Railroad and Train Show is just another reason to visit beautiful Savannah—never a bad thing. The show had several operating layouts, in O, HO and N scales. Vendors offer model trains and accessories from tables.

  • Dates: Jan. 26 and 27, 2019
  • Times: Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Place: National Guard Armory, 1248 Eisenhower Drive, Savannah, GA
  • Cost: Age 12 and over, $7, except $5 for seniors age 60 and over and students; age 11 and under, free; active military, free.
  • Directions: The Savannah armory is about a 5½-hour drive from Crossing Creeks RV Resort and Spa. NOTE: Road closings near the armory may cause delays.
  • Parking: Passenger vehicle parking is availabkle in front nd behind the armory, and t nearby municipal lots. Several RV parks offer RV parking in the area.

Georgia State Railroad Museum

As long as you’re in Savannah, check out the Georgia State Railroad Museum. It’s on the site of the old Central of Georgia Railway Savannah Shops and Terminal Facilities in downtown Savannah. It even has a roundhouse and a giant turntable, which positioned locomotives to head into or out of any of several maintenance bays arranged in a semicircle. The museum operates the most complete pre-Civil War railroad in the country. If you’re feeling strong enough, give the handcar a try.

  • Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., 7 days a week
  • Cost: $10, age 13 and older; $6, children ages 2-12.
  • Tickets: Available online.
  • Location: 55 Louisville Rd., Savannah, GA 31401
  • Directions: The railroad museum is about a 15-minute drive from the National Guard Armory.

The Model Train Show, Atlanta

It’s back to Atlanta in March for The Model Train Show at Cobb Galleria Centre. Model railroad clubs from around Georgia operate layouts. Gauges on display include O, HO, N, S and TT. There’s also an exhibit by the Dixie Lego Users. The North Georgia Live Steamers display their scale model live steam trains—powerful models big enough to ride. Vendors sell their model railroad wares at about 250 tables. There’s also a white elephant table at which visitors can sell an item or two they enter into a computerized system.

  • Dates: Saturday, March 16; Sunday, March 17
  • Times: Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Place: Cobb Galleria Centre, 2 Galleria Parkway, Exhibit Hall A, Atlanta, GA 30339
  • Cost: Age 9 and over, $9; age 8 and under, free; Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in uniform, free.
  • Parking: Passenger vehicle parking at the Galleria is $5 per day, debit or credit only—no cash. RV parking is available at a number of RV parks in the area.
  • Directions: Cobb Galleria Center is just off the intersection of Interstates 75 and 285. Plan on a little less or more than a 2-hour drive from Crossing Creeks RV Resort and Spa, depending on your route.

Image courtesy of John Catsoulis, Wikipedia

If you’re looking for a holiday decoration stamped with the words “Made in China,” you don’t want to visit Christmas Made in the South. The juried craft fair makes several stops in Georgia and nearby every November and December.

The name pretty much describes what you’ll find from the 200 or so crafters and artisans who set up shop each Christmas season at the show. All the products are handmade by Southerners.

Juried Exhibit

“Juried exhibit” means not just any crafter can come in and sell at the show. Artisans must send photos of their work to show officials. If the jurors see merit in the work—uniqueness, originality, quality, booth appeal—they invite the applicant to sell at the show. Exhibitors must display and sell the type of work reviewed by the judges.

Shows take on a regional flavor because the juries differ from place to place.

Variety of Wares

Where some regional shows might deal with a single craft, Christmas in the South welcomes a variety of works, as long as they deal with a single holiday: Christmas. When 200 or more crafters are selling in one spot, you’re bound to see all kinds of products.

Among the handcrafted items are pottery, candles, blown glass, tree ornaments, jewelry, tapestries, outdoor decorations, and painted and caned furniture, a popular category.

Get Personal

If you’re a crafter yourself, the shows offer a chance to talk to people who are good at what they do and usually are willing to talk about it. Learn new techniques. Find out what goes into a craft you might consider adding to your own repertoire.

You can personalize some products, too. Ornaments, for instance, can be ordered with your name or a family name, and maybe the year. It’s an opportunity to buy some personalized gifts for people on your Christmas list.

Little Start, Big Growth

The show began as a church event on a single Saturday. Now it is run by Carolina Shows, Inc., which stages craft fairs and festivals throughout the South. Carolina Shows has been promoting events for more than 30 years, and it imbues each show with professionalism.

If the promoters find a product that doesn’t suit the tenor and standards of the exhibit, for instance, or doesn’t reflect what the jury approved, they’ll remove it.  They’ll even take down signs that fail to meet standards.


Admission for all events is $7 for all three days, age 13 and older; children 12 and under enter free. For discounts, print $1 off coupons per ticket online

Two Christmas Made in the South shows remain this season in Georgia:

Venue: Macon CentrePlex
200 Coliseum Drive
Macon, GA 31217
Dates: Nov. 2-4, 2018
Times: Friday, 10 a.m. -7 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Parking: Free
Directions: The Macon CentrePlex is a 3½- to 4-hour drive from Crossing Creeks RV Resort & Spa.
Venue: Savannah International Trade & Convention Center
​1 International Drive
Savannah, GA 31421
Dates: Nov. 16-18, 2018
Times: Friday, 10 a.m. -6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Admission: $7 admits one adult for all three days, age 13 and older; children 12 and under, free
Discounts: Print $1 off coupons per ticket online
Parking: Free
Directions: The Savannah International Trade & Convention Center is a 5¾- to 6-hour drive from Crossing Creeks RV Resort & Spa.
Another Christmas Made in the South will be in Jacksonville, Fla., during Thanksgiving weekend:

Venue: Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center
1000 Water St.
Jacksonville, FL 32204
Dates: Nov. 23-25, 2018
Times: Friday, 9 a.m. -6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Parking: $5-10
Directions: The Prime Osborn III convention center is just under a six-hour drive from Crossing Creeks RV Resort & Spa.

There also will be a Christmas Made in the South in Ladson, S.C., just outside of Charleston, that’s actually a bit closer than Savannah:

Venue: Exchange Park Fairgrounds
9850 Highway 78
Ladson, SC 29456
Dates: Nov. 30-Dec. 2, 2018
Times: Friday, 10 a.m. -6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Parking: Free
Directions: The Exchange Fairgrounds are a 5-hour and 20-minute drive from Crossing Creeks RV Resort & Spa.

Photo Credits: Christmas Made in the South

Tuesday, 25 September 2018 18:38

It’s Peanut Harvest Season in Georgia

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If you think Georgia runners are tailbacks who gain a lot of yardage for the Bulldogs, you don’t know much about Georgia peanuts.

Runners are often the peanuts you snack on during the game. They’re the most common type of peanut grown in the state. That’s significant, since Georgia has just under 50 percent of the peanut acreage cultivated in the United States.

October just about finishes the Georgia peanut harvest, which begins in August, so let’s talk peanuts.

Here are some other quick Georgia peanut facts:

  • Runners are made into peanut butter, snack nuts and candy.
  • Other varieties grown are Spanish, Valencia and Virginia peanuts.
  • Because they have the largest seeds, Virginia peanuts are those typically used for roasting in the shell.
  • Georgia’s Spanish peanuts are usually small and red-skinned.
  • Green peanuts, which are best for boiling, must be refrigerated to avoid mold.
  • The peanut is actually a legume.
  • Most peanuts are grown on the Coastal Plain, south of the fall line.

To thrive, peanuts need about 22 inches of rain during the growing season and sandy soil that drains well. That’s why the Coastal Plain is prime peanut country.

Allergy Warning: If you have a peanut allergy, no preparation in the world will make peanuts safe for you. If you’re preparing food for guests and using peanuts as an ingredient, from Chinese chicken to candy or sweetbread, make sure none of your guests has a peanut allergy. It can take very little peanut content to trigger a dangerous anaphylactic reaction in those who have the allergy.

peanut cooking

If you want to enjoy some George peanuts, here are a few suggestions:

Boiled Peanuts

For boiled peanuts, you need green peanuts, or dried peanuts that you rehydrate. The peanuts should still be in the shell. Raw peanuts for boiling often are Valencia or runners. Dried peanuts might be the Virginia type. Despite the name, most are grown in Georgia.

Boiled peanuts, unlike dried and roasted peanuts, are soft after they are cooked. They have to be refrigerated not only before they are boiled tp keep them from spoiling, but also afterwards. If you want to make a large quantity for later eating, freeze them in bags. They’ll keep for months if frozen, then microwaved to thaw.

You can boil peanuts on the stovetop, but it’s easier to boil them in a slow cooker, such as a Crockpot. Boiled peanuts are almost always salty. Popular seasonings are Old Bay or Zatarain Cajun-style.

If you use dried peanuts, rehydrate them by placing them into a pot of water, unheated, and let them soak overnight.

We’ve looked for some good recipes. Here are links to a couple:

Crock Pot Spicy Boiled Peanuts
Stovetop Salted Boiled Peanuts

Roasted Peanuts

You can certainly go out and buy roasted peanuts. They’re all over the place, from gas stations to corner stores and supermarkets. But why not roast them yourself? If you like them really well done, which processed peanuts often are not, you can turn them a savory toasted brown in your own oven.

Peanuts can be roasted in the shell or out. It’s easy to roast raw peanuts, or dried peanuts, which stay fresh longer than raw peanuts do. You can roast them with salt and/or seasonings, or plain. That’s a matter of taste. There’s no right or wrong seasoning. And here’s good news: Roasting takes less than an hour, which is a fraction of the time required for boiling.

One thing to remember about roasted peanuts is that once you roast them, they continue to cook even as they cool off. A peanut that’s hot and a bit chewy right out of the oven will be a little more done and crisper after it cools.

Here are a couple of recipes:

Roasting Peanuts—Oven, Microwave or Oil
Roasted Raw Salted Peanuts
If you want to learn more about peanuts and myriad ways to prepare them—for breakfast, snacks, natural peanut butter, or as part of your main meal—visit the Georgia Peanut Commission website.

After you’ve done the work, munch on a few peanuts with family or friends during a football game or while just socializing outside your RV.

Photo Credits: Wikihow, Quora

Monday, 17 September 2018 17:59

In Search of Georgia’s Ghosts

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You can sit around a campfire and tell ghost stories for Halloween. Or you can get that creepy, crawling, cold feeling up and down your spine that comes from visiting some places in Georgia that many say are truly haunted.

So, in the spirit(s) of Halloween, we’ve gathered the details on a few ghost tours that you can experience in Georgia. Included are links to driving directions. Wherever you go ghost hunting, take a sweater. The experienced say the temperature drops when ghosts are near.

Andersonville National Historical Site

Not far from Americus is Andersonville National Historical Site, which honors the victims of the Confederate prisoner-of-war camp there. Park rangers lead respectful tours of the site, which also houses the National Prisoner of War Museum.  Treatment of prisoners by both the Union and Confederacy was abysmal, but Andersonville was, by all accounts, a death camp. Many visitors say they can hear the cries of agony from some of the 13,000 Union soldiers who died at the prison, infamous for its lack of sanitation and food.

The superintendent of the prison, Capt. Henry Wirz, was hanged after the Civil War for war crimes. The hanging failed to break his neck, so his body twitched at the end of a rope until he suffocated. His ghost reportedly has been spotted roaming the grounds.

Andersonville National Historical Site
National Prisoner of War Museum
496 Cemetery Road
Andersonville, GA 31711
Phone: 229-924-0343
Cost: Free
Reservations: Not required except for groups of 15 or more
Directions: Andersonville is about a 4-hour drive from Crossing Creeks, just less than 2 hours south of Atlanta.

Decatur Ghost Tour

Starting at the Decatur Town Square, tour guide “Boo” Newell leads visitors to buildings and cemeteries that people say are haunted. She delves not just into places where paranormal events have been reported, or where she’s experienced them, but also into the city’s history. The walk is about a mile long, so it’s the right length for kids as well as adults, but it takes two hours. What does she talk about? Murder, passion, vice, war and tragedy, she writes on her website. Plan to shoot photos—many people say orbs indicating paranormal activity show up in theirs.

Decatur Ghost Tour
Address: 101 E. Court Square, Decatur, GA 30030
Phone: 864-517-0688
Hours: 7:30-9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday  year-round
Cost: $15, age 10 and older; $12, age 9 and younger
Reservations: online
Directions: Decatur Ghost Tour is just over 2 hours’ drive south of Crossing Creeks.

Roswell Ghost Tour

Here’s a chance to hunt for the supernatural and help to preserve Roswell’s historic features. A portion of every admission fee goes toward preservation projects.

Dianna Avena and other experienced paranormal investigators lead a 1-mile, 2½-hour Roswell Ghost Tour Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. Roswell is an equal-opportunity haunt: Spirits have been reported in mansions as well as working-class homes and abandoned mills outside of town. Participants, and not just the tour leaders, say they have captured photographic, video and audible evidence of paranormal activity—people who no one remembers seeing, a person who casts no shadow, moans of workers in the mills. There’s a reduced price for children 12 and younger, but the tour guides do not recommend that children under age 13 take the tour.

Roswell Ghost Tour
610 Atlanta St.
Roswell GA 30075
Phone: 864-517-0688
Time/Place: 8:30 p.m.-1:20 a.m, Friday-Sunday, Gazebo in Roswell Town Square
Cost: $15, age 13 and older; $10, age 12 and younger
Reservations: online
Directions: Roswell, about a half-hour north of Atlanta, is an hour and 45-minute drive from Crossing Creeks via either US 19 or U.S. 76 and Interstate 575. It’s only a few minutes from Decatur.

windsor hotelWindsor Hotel, Americus, GA

The Windsor Hotel in Americus is a Best Western Plus establishment. Perhaps the plus refers to its spirits.

There’s nothing unusual about a doorman helping hotel guests with luggage—unless it’s at the Windsor. At the ornate Victorian-era brick hotel, there’s one—Floyd, an elderly gentleman—who guests occasionally report helping them out. The thing is, the Windsor hasn’t had a doorman in years. Floyd really had worked there.

Then there’s the patter of little feet running through the hallways at night. That might be Emma, the daughter of Emily Mae, the housekeeper. The only problem is that both were slain in the 1920s when Emily Mae’s lover pushed them down an elevator shaft.

And some guests say things they own are moved inexplicably from one place to another in their rooms. There is one explanation, of course, and the hotel is glad to share it with folks on the ghost tour.  

Windsor Hotel Historic Haunted Ghost Tours
Address: 125 Lamar St., Americus, GA 31709
Phone: 229-924-1555
Time: Daily, 8-9 p.m.
Cost: $12
Directions: Americus is a little over 2 hours south of Atlanta, about a 4¼-hour drive from Crossing Creeks.

Savannah Tours

If Savannah is, as reputed, the nation’s most haunted city, there are sound reasons. It was the center of the slave trade. Its population was ravaged by a yellow fever epidemic, with many victims buried in the Colonial Cemetery. And undoubtedly, women were raped and people were killed as a result of the city’s capture under Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, who surprisingly spared the city from being torched. Sherman telegraphed President Abraham Lincoln to tell him he was presenting Savannah as a Christmas gift in 1864. Savannah did experience a devastating fire in 1865, although its cause has been a subject of debate.

Savannah’s status as the haunting capital may be the reason the city offers so many tours of ghost sites and graveyards. Rather than single out one, we’ll send you to a Savannah ghost tour list with offerings and prices. Some tours are walking; others are riding. Some are adults only; others are child-friendly. One even welcomes well-behaved dogs.

Directions: Savannah, a coastal city, is about a 5½-mile drive from Crossing Creeks. The quickest route is past Atlanta, so it would be easy to work in other sites in this blog while driving to or from Savannah.

Photo Credits: Wikipedia

Monday, 30 July 2018 14:13

Georgia Fairs Entertain through September, October

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Here come Georgia’s fall fairs. No two are alike, and all present great travel opportunities from Crossing Creeks RV Resort & Spa in Blairsville.

Fairs start in early September, with at least one fair scheduled each week through mid-November. Some are regional, some local. The biggest of all is the Georgia National Fair.

At almost any fair you can expect entertainment for all ages: food, of course, livetock competitions, cooking and baking contests, rides, concerts and fireworks.

To find your own way, here’s a list of county fairs in Georgia. Here are some highlights:

Northwest Georgia Regional Fair

  • Cherokee Capital Fairgrounds
  • 1060 Liberty Road, Calhoun, GA 30701
  • Sept. 7-15

One of the first agricultural fairs of the season is the Northwest Georgia Regional Fair. The Cherokee Capital fairgrounds in Calhoun are less than a 2-hour drive from Blairsville. This is pretty much an old-fashioned country fair, with livestock competitions, 4-H and FFA exhibits, clowns, puppets, rides and traditional fair food. Gates open at 5 p.m. weekdays and 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $5, age 5 and over. Parking is free.

Georgia State Fair

  • Atlanta Motor Speedway
  • 1500 Tara Pl, Hampton, GA 30228
  • Sept. 28-Oct. 7

With just about every kind of family entertainment imaginable, the Georgia State Fair runs for 10 days. It’s staged inside the Atlanta Motor Speedway, so there’s plenty of parking, including limited RV parking (call 901-867-7007). The speedway is about two hours and 40 minutes from Blairsville.

Kids entertainment abounds: a petting zoo, the Puppetone Rockers audience participation show, a white tiger display, pig races, monkeys serving as jockeys and racing dogs, a circus, magic and motorcycle daredevils. There’s also a midway and a walk-through butterfly encounter. The $10 admission ($5 ages 5-12, seniors) includes all attractions, including music; rides are extra. Tuesday is ride all day for $10. Other days, ride all day is $25. Thursday, each ride is $1.

Tickets are available only at the gate.

Georgia National Fair

  • 401 Larry Walker Pkwy, Perry, GA 31069
  • Oct. 4-14

Sponsored by the state of Georgia, this is the biggest of the fairs. Traditional livestock shows are a Georgia National Fair highlight, with competition for cattle, hogs, sheep, goats, horses, rabbits and llamas. The Invitational Steer and Heifer Shows welcome 4-H and FFA exhibitors from Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina and Mississippi.

Music includes Emmy winner Peabo Bryson; Neal McCoy; a College Night ticket shared by Aaron Tippin, Sammy Kershaw and Collin Raye; 1990s and Southern Rock revivals; and gospel and Latin music. Other entertainment: pig races, antique tractors, hypnotist Tammy Barton, magicians, midway exhibits and lots of rides.

The Georgia National fairgrounds are about a four-hour drive from Blairsville, just over two hours south of Atlanta. Online ticket sales begin Aug. 24.

Elberton 12-County Fair

  • 350 N. Oliver St. Elberton GA 30635
  • Oct. 12-23

The regional Elberton 12-County Fair in northeast Georgia is less than a 2½-hour drive east from Blairsville. Daily admission is $5, and all-morning or all-afternoon ride tickets are available. In addition to blue-ribbon livestock contests, time-honored competitions include vegetables, jellies, jams, crafts and art. Here’s a different contest: 4Hers vie for best scarecrow. Musical acts entertain nightly, and there’s even pro wrestling.

North Georgia Agricultural Fair

  • 500 Legion Drive, Dalton, GA 30721
  • Oct. 18-26

One of the final nearby fall fairs is the North Georgia Agricultural Fair in Dalton. Ribbons are awarded for pies, cakes, pickles, preserves, jams, jellies, Christmas ornaments, quilts and much more. Crops judged include string and lima beans, corn, honey, nuts, peppers, tomatoes and many more categories. Livestock also is judged. Oh, and there’s a contest for voices: Karaoke preliminaries are Oct. 19 and finals, Oct. 26. There are food and rides aplenty.

Dalton is to the west of Blairsville—an hour and a half away by U.S. 76, or an hour and 50 minutes by the scenic route through south Tennessee on U.S. 74.

*Photos courtesy of Wikipedia.

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