Day 1 Southbound – We stowed our stuff, then brought the slides in, raised the jacks and started a new chapter. The departure routine is fairly solid. A checklist is followed and we feel assured that we are not doing something stupid like dragging a sewer hose down the road as it spews green stuff.
We made our way to I-95, then South. Anxiety aside we got on the interstate feeling the familiarity of it. We knew we had come North this way a mere nine months prior. The familiar cadence of those joints in the concrete slab were singing to me.
I asked in the headset , "How about a round of East Bound and down?"
"Ahh, no," came back.
Once in North Carolina, we stopped for a few nights at the RV Resort at Carolina Crossroads. Heck of a way to start out but we had our wires crossed, "only one night," she said.
I said, "no i asked for three," and she reworked things to accommodate me.
A nice site, a corner lot. Pool, and laundry literally across the street. So far, so good. Ironically, another Forest River Motorhome followed us in off the interstate and into the campground. We wound up next door to them. Between us is a shared gazebo, nice touch.
On the way in, a sign read, Yes, you may wash your rig here! That may seem like nothing, but it’s a giant drawing card for those in the know.
Although not a destination park, for us it is a massive plus in the category of a few nights layover.
Check it out at:
Three days later we moved further south. It was a relief to simply exit the interstate and find the RVaction RV Park in Selma, North Carolina. Learning as you go, what matters the most is convenience and efficiency. If I’m seeking a particular destination RV Park that is one thing. Two to three day hops while getting to your destination the last thing you want is surprises.
This is a clean, busy, wayside stop for travelers. If you have ever traveled I-95 in southern NC you’ll immediately recognize the picture of where the RV Park sits on the highway and what's next to it. The zillion dollar house on a lake is next door, it is a religious retreat we found out, not someone’s lottery home. A decent layover park. Yes we will use it again.
Don't hesitate to utilize this RV Park:
After leaving there we made out way further south to a little known campgroung along I-95 called Swamp Fox Campground.
Itried for a round of "Trailer for sale or rent..." no answer.
With under a hundred sites it’s still not to hard to make a reservation. Quaint, clean and quiet. The drive getting here was as quiet as the nights at Swampfox Campground. Not much to say about this park. It needs help. Too many sites being used as residences. If this RV Park fits our travel and we need a stop , I would possibly use it again. I would not try to deliberately make a stop here though.
Moving on we headed for Yemassee, SC a Thousand Trails RV Park. We use them when one is fitting our travel plans, since we are paying monthly. It feels like we are staying for free, maybe in a year it will be. The membership is lifetime, the fee is monthly until paid in full. It will pay for itself in time.
The site, at The Oaks at South Point was clean, a straight shot off of I-95, and a very wooded locale. The good news is we could still get Satellite TV, even with the trees. The advertised free WiFi turns out o be based in the clubhouse only. We were not able to grab it from our site. So that no one is confused, we have Internet, and when we arrive, if we find suitable WiFi, it gets ported the rooftop Winegard™ booster to the parks WiFi. That way, we are not using our unlimited bandwidth that is limited.
For the security conscious reading this, yes I know who you are. We do make sure to switch to our secure channels when doing any banking or other transactional work.
We had rain nearly every day of our four days there. The humidity was near 100% daily. Of course, that is not their fault in any way. The lack of upkeep of the gravel parking pads is their fault. Muddy conditions make for a disappointing time. Lurking just under the gravel site is this network of tiny biting ants.
A little treatment here folks would go a long way, at least on this site. I still have a few bites on me. They itch like the dickens.
On the upside is their gator pond/lake! A trail of cleared, well mowed ground goes entirely around the lake. A fantastic nature-walk, if you take the time to stop and look. Even the KOA campground close by has an adjoining path. If you need a layover along I-95 in southern South Carolina, despite their faults, the nature walk is worth it.
I was hoping to see a few sunning alligators, apparently camera shyness kept them hidden. Alligators don’t bother me. Back in the day, I fished using a small boat, in canals with them swimming nearby. Alligators are more afraid of us than we are of them.
Please check them out:
Our next stop was slated for Jacksonville, Fla. It is bittersweet to be returning here for both of us. Florida has always been referred too as home, yes even after 20 years in Virginia. The three years there together was spent in an apartment, literally overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. That view is burned into our psyche as home.
As a result of feeling at home, we look forward to the border crossing each time we have returned.
Well, we did in the past that is, until Tropical Storm Sally was crossing the southerly part of the state. She was spinning squalls across the road as we crossed the state line. These bands of rain were quick squalls directly 90 degrees to us. We took winds and rain broadside, buffeting the Beast like a beach ball.
So much fun, finally giving in, we waited it out in a Flying J gas station and in time proceeded on to Pecan Park just north of Jacksonville. This RV Park is all Concrete pads, 50 AMP service, clean, well presented, and very close to I-95.
On the downside, the premium dollar site we were on was right up front, every vehicle coming in passes us. Oh yea, and we seem to be on the main runway of Jacksonville Airport, or at least close enough to feel the vibrations of take off and landing. Another Stopover but not a destination Park. Of course, if you were in Jacksonville on purpose, then this Park would be a plus. The weather kept us from bothering to get to the beach itself.
Update: Monday 6:30 AM – Paying for a Prime spot gets me what I have spoken of above. Now their lawn service has arrived in force and is unloading their equipment. their mowers. All RV parks have published quiet hours. Either 8PM to 8AM or some such thing. It works. Mowing at 6:30 AM does not work! Again the Universal Karma thing.
Update: Tuesday 12 PM-Ride Sally Ride. The itsy bitsy Tropical Storm soon Hurricane is massive, not overly powerful, but its crawling. This left us with rain every few hours. Anything west of us is obviously getting more rain, as it approaches the New Orleans , Louisiana and Mississippi coast. One more highly anticipated stop further south in Florida gave us hope that Hurricane SALLY would be just a memory soon enough. Ultimately we move west, for now safely behind the storm. Universal karma gave us some doubt and we chose to sit tight for three more nights in Jacksonville.
Unfortunately, Pecan Park will not be a first choice stopover.
If I had the money, I’d buy this Park and others like it and do it right!
Now on to a confession, I don’t have many friends. I am, for the most part, a loner. I have people I know, in the short term, anyone does. Having a friend, someone that spans time where you may not speak to them for years and can simply pick up where you left off twenty years ago, accounts as a true friend.
Visiting that one friend came with some anxiety for me. Go figure, most of those that know me are saying to themselves about now—one friend, yep that's Mike.
One friend that I have not seen in 20 years. I really don’t recall the last time. We sat on his porch then, had dinner, and went on with our lives over the next two decades, what had changed for him, for me, all to be found out, over a few days.
Somehow those 20 years melted away as if it was yesterday. He came to the drivers side to instruct me on where to park the Beast. I leaned out and said, “Hey, you old goat!”
As if he had aged and I had not.
We caught up on our lives for a few days, reminisced, and agreed to do this again soon. The secret of this 72-year-old retiree and his wife of many years that is keeping them both young is simple. They are raising three granddaughters.
I cringed at the idea. The oldest is 12, the middle is 8, and the youngest is 4.
Pa-Pa and Na-na have raised the most well mannered and respectful kids I have come to know in such a short time. For a few days, they would run and greet us outside the motorhome. We were the latest and greatest, I guess.
Sitting in the shade of the Beasts awning, the 4 year old stayed and talked our ear off until dinner. Actually, I enjoyed the entire time with them. Their zeal for life, their drama from school, all of it. I hated to break camp and leave, but the open road is calling.
Next up Westward we go.