We rolled into Crossville on Friday night. Crossville is home to a retirement community known as Fairfield Glade, of about 8000 people that seems to have affected the demographics and economy of this part of town in a big way. The community is the snowbird destination for people from the north, particularly Michigan, who can’t stand the heat of Florida and move up here instead. The locals call these people “Halfbacks.” Even the RV park we’re staying at, Spring Lake RV Resort (the “resort” part is sort of a stretch as they don’t really have amenities), is a “55+ park,” meaning that kids can come visit their ancestors for a day but can’t register to camp here unless they’re over 55. In place of the swingsets, pool and play areas that you find at normal parks, they have adirondack chairs set strategically around the central, small lake so we old fellers can sit and stare at the plastic swans anchored in the middle. But it’s clean, close to the people we want to visit, has good utilities, and will serve us very well for our week here. The lake is also stocked with largemouth bass, and I’d be fishing if my poles weren’t in storage back in Maryland, waiting for us to come get them.
The old-age thing hereabouts wasn’t apparent until Pat and I went to Mass on Sunday. We looked around and didn’t see many young people unless they were attached to an older person or persons who were obvious grandparents. The average age of the people at the service had to be near 50. Like everywhere else we go, we don’t know a lot of these local facts until we arrive and start asking around.
Our biggest reason for coming here was to visit dear relatives on both sides of our family. My cousin Jim and his wife Leath, both Ohio natives, have a vacation place right down the road from us in Fairfield Glade. We visited with them later in the week and, thank God, it had nothing to do with a family funeral, which is the only other time, it seems, that we get to see them. On Sunday we drove up to meet Pat’s niece Sherry and her family – some of them for the first time since we hadn’t seen them since she was remarried – who live near Oak Ridge an hour away, for a visit and had a great time getting to know each other.
As far as fun things to do, we’re still looking. We went to nearby Cumberland Mountain State Park on Sunday and had a fine time due to its un-state-parklike amenities. For one thing it has an olympic-sized swimming pool, which seemed to be the main attraction of a hundred or so young folks in the area on a hot, sunny Sunday afternoon. We swam for a couple hours until the place started clearing out about 4:30, then went over to the park’s very nice restaurant for a good buffet dinner of ribs & chicken.
So we’re trying to find things to do and see. Over the past couple days, we’ve been driven around the local area by Jim and Leath, taking in the sights, hiking to local waterfalls, visiting the world’s tallest tree house (abandoned), hanging out at their vacation condo a mile or two down the road from us and fishing on their pontoon boat. We had a great time catching up on family gossip and reconnecting with both of our families that we’ve missed by living in Maryland for the past 30 years. That last is a big reason why we chose this mobile lifestyle and the past couple days’ activities, IMHO, have validated that choice.
Of the two major housekeeping things we had to accomplish this week, as of Friday the 23rd one of them got done and the other is still, annoyingly, pending. The finished item was that we got the plastic bubble skylight – broken by a low-hanging branch on our last leg up here – over our shower replaced by a local repair guy, who talked my arm off with advice once I told him I was a rookie RVer. The unfinished one – our permanent South Dakota license plates – is still in License Plate Limbo. We got a call from our South Dakota mail forwarder, who was doing the legwork of registering our RV, and they were waiting on one little tax document that needed to be faxed from the Florida dealer where we bought the RV. So our Friday departure time has come and gone, and it looks like we’ll be here, unexpectedly, over at least the weekend. Fortunately the RV park office is okay with us staying put in our current site, at the normal daily rate.
This morning (Friday the 23rd) Jim and Leath left for Myrtle Beach for their own family vacation, so we’re here by ourselves. Last night we got a reciprocal visit from Pat’s niece Sherry and her husband, so we had a repeat reconnection with them as well, took them out to dinner and went on a Tennessee backroad snipe hunt trying to get back to our RV, since they unexpectedly and temporarily closed the main road leading back to our park for construction while we were eating dinner. I kept hearing banjo music as we tried to find our way back here down back-country roads, but that might have been my imagination.
The weather turned rainy yesterday and continued that way into today, so it looks like we’ll just be hanging around the RV doing some reading and low-key entertainment. I suspect that this is going to be the pattern for the next couple of days, and my task this morning is to call our dealer to light a fire under them and get the mail forwarder the document he needs to get us our plates. We’ve had to cancel two follow-on reservations so far due to the delay, and every time we do that we pay a cancellation fee so the frustration is mounting.