Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Tuesday October 22
We weren't sure how our stay would be, when we first arrived at Hardeeville RV Park.  We found it with no problem.  We pulled in and parked in front of the office as the sign instructed.  I went inside the office to pay our money and get our site... but found the office door locked.  There were no notes posted that they "would be right back". So I called the phone #, but I'm the only one that heard it ringing on the other side of the sliding glass door.  On the paperwork in the lobby, I found a cell # so I called it and got voicemail.  I called again and again and left messages.  I walked all around the park.  Nobody.  We were there for an hour, before the owner drove up and so innocently asked "wanting to check in?"  DUH!

Not sure how it would go from there, I just paid for 2 nights.  But we set up in a comfortable site with 50 amp, plenty of space, cable TV and WiFi.  So our 2 nights ended up being 5 nights (one night at a time).

Hardeeville RV Park is in South Carolina, but only a few miles North of Savannah, Georgia.  So all our time away from the park was spent in Georgia.

We crossed this bridge every day

Fort Pulaski National Monument
 We had never heard of Fort Pulaski, but Jeff especially enjoys anything historical, AND it was a chance to take advantage of our annual national park pass.

It was very interesting... but I am SO not a historian or a teacher.
So I will give you a couple links here...



Tybee Island and Sponge Bob!

 We were told by a blog follower to visit Tybee Island... that it was stuck back in the 60s.  Sounded interesting.  But what we got was a surprise. 

There were police and security all over the beach street.  We soon realized they were filming.  Paramount Pictures was there filming a new movie "Sponge Bob Square Pants 2" 

I asked, "Where is Sponge Bob?"  Then a devastating blow...  Sponge Bob isn't Real!!
I tried hard to take that in, then they explained.... they put him in later.  Oh! Whew... so he is real.

That explains the bicycle pedaling around with no one on it.  Sponge Bob will be on it later.  And the empty umbrellas on the beach.  They must be awaiting Sponge Bob's friends to come in later.

We haven't seen Sponge Bob ONE... but we will most likely see TWO when it comes out,
just because we were there. 
Southbound Brewing
I find Breweries by searching for them on the internet.
Here is the website for Southbound Brewery
They have a great website... and no reason for me not to think that they are open!  So we went. We pulled in to an empty parking lot with no sign of activity.  But we lucked out by speaking to a business man who has an office in a separate part of the building.  He took us around to the back side of the building, and hollered at the guys... "Hey, I've got a couple here all the way from Oregon, that came to visit your brewery"

They invited us in for a beer!  But don't touch the counter... it is freshly varnished.  They served up a Hoplin' IPA for Jeff, and a Belgian Day Trip'ler for me.  Wow... that beer was incredible.  Honestly, I had never tasted a better beer. I would describe it as full of substance, smooth, not bitter, not sweet, not dull... incredible!  Turns out it is 9.5% too. 

Not sure how long they have been brewing, but they have their beers in a lot of the local bars, they've just never been open to the public.  They have the taps and the bar just about ready for guests now. 
But because they are a brewery, with no limit on production, they are unable to sell beer at their location.  What they will do is sell customers a brewery glass, and that glass will get them several tasters.  There is a way to get around most anything.

Thanks to Smith and Alex for inviting us in and sharing your good beers with us!

Historic Savannah 

Cal was a Crafter with a City license.  He wove beautiful roses out of Palmetto Palms.
Savannah is an old city, and enjoyable to walk around... especially along the old River road. 
But it is not enjoyable trying to drive in, and nearly impossible to park with a big truck.

The photo below is from Fort Pulaski.  It was carved on a brick by G.W. Martus Feb 4 1880.  I decided to look up G.W. Martus.  I found a George W. Martus from Chathum county in the 1880 census. 
Then the above sculpture caught my attention.  It is Florence Martus, known as "the Waving Girl".  She took it upon herself to be the unofficial greeter of all ships that entered and left the Port of Savannah between 1887 and 1931.  Her father was a sergeant at Fort Pulaski.
Just thought it was interesting...
Jeff tripped and fell while attempting a short cut in Savannah on our second visit, and it seemed he must have bruised some ribs.  So because of his painful movement, we stayed longer in the area than we had planned.  From Hardeeville, we had thought we would go to the Brunswick area where we could meet up with Duane & Louise again.  But since we were running late, we decided to go on to Florida.
...That Next!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tennessee Change in Plans

Wednesday, October 16th
Kentucky to Tennessee

At the end of last post, it was October 16th, and we were leaving Fort Boonesborough SP, headed for Tennessee.
Our initial plan was that we were going to Nashville.  But plans change!  And sometimes, they change very last minute.  We were actually driving out of the park, when we changed direction. 

This ridiculous government shutdown has really screwed things up for a lot of people.  We wanted to visit the Great Smoky Mountains, so we were trying to hold off, giving them a chance to get "it" together.  Some States had paid to open their parks.  Tennessee and North Carolina had just teamed up and paid to open the Great Smoky Mountains... but only from Wednesday to Sunday.

With this news, we turned left out of the park, instead of right.  Our sudden revised plan was to go to Pigeon Forge and stay a few days.  I phoned parks while Jeff drove us in that direction.  I searched and called for many miles with no luck.  Some parks had a site for tonight, but that was it.  Other parks were so ridiculously priced, it was no wonder they had space.  We were getting close to the exit for Pigeon Forge, and I didn't have anything... so I had Jeff keep going. 

We decided to go on into North Carolina, to the other side of the Great Smoky Mountains NP.  I called Harrah's Cherokee Casino in Cherokee, NC at the other end of the NP, and confirmed that they allowed RV overnight parking.  So that was the new plan.

The new problem with this new plan was that it was getting late.  We didn't know the roads, and we have learned to not travel with the fifth wheel after dark.  It doesn't go well.
So I found a Walmart in Newport, TN where we could stay the night.

Another good Walmart lot that we would recommend.
Big Bad Blunder
When we parked, we were focused on pulling up as close as we could to the curb.  This way we can put all our slides out and still be way within the parking lines.  What we DIDN'T focus on was that big tree!  See that big yellow tree in the photo above?  We drove our rig right into that tree, before we noticed it!  All we could do was pull ourselves out of it and hope it didn't do a lot of damage.
It was visible from the ground, that a branch had ripped a hole in the rubber roof, so I climbed on the roof to survey the damage.  Fortunately, that was the full extent of the damage.  Jeff tossed up a tube of Goop (we love that stuff!) and I put a seal over the tear.  Its about a pea size hole that I closed up and "gooped" real good.
An extra at this Walmart was a gas station in the same parking lot that had a water faucet and, upon asking, had no problem with us using it to fill our 6 gallon water jug.  So we put 18 gallons of fresh water in our tank and filled up our generator.  We were now prepared for a couple nights in the casino lot.
Thursday, October 17th
     North Carolina
Poor Routing
We had less than 70 miles to travel today, but were we ever glad that we didn't attempt it yesterday after dark!  I do the best research I can, when it comes to our routes.  I have a book that lists Low Clearances, I look up roads on the internet, I Google Earth roads... but sometimes, I make a wrong choice for us.  Today was one of those days. 
We took Hwy 19 from I-40 to Cherokee.  I saw that the road was curvy, but that was nothing for Jeff.  What we DIDN'T Know was that it was extremely Narrow... there was only a few inches of  pavement outside of the fog line.  But we didn't have even those extra inches of pavement much of the time.  There were many places where the pavement had broken away into the inside of the white line... and the drop off was about a foot!  In other places, usually on corners, the rock wall seemed to protrude into the road.  We ALSO didn't know that many miles of the road was at a 6% to 8% down grade.  And what we DIDN'T figure on was that there would be dense fog!!  We went in and out of the fog... sometimes barely seeing the front of the truck.

So here we were on this extremely narrow and corroded road with extremely sharp corners with jagged rock walls... trying to control the gears and brakes at an average 7% downgrade in dense fog!!!!  It was tense! and I felt so bad for sending my driver this way.  I honestly don't know how we stayed on the road and made it safely to the end.  I guess our guardian angels were working overtime!
Harrah's Cherokee Casino
Were we ever glad and thankful to arrive at our destination.  No problem finding it and getting in.  What a huge parking lot they had and they did in fact have designated overnight RV parking... and it was incredible!
 We had grass, a walking path, and a beautiful flowing stream... in our front yard!
We couldn't ask for anything better.  We were so glad with our decision to stay here.
Friday, October 18th
Great Smoky Mountains
I'd had my Mom send our important mail to the Post Office in Pigeon Forge, but with our change in plans we were in the area sooner than we had planned.  We were parked on the South end of the Great Smoky Mountains, so we didn't want to make the trip through the park until we knew we had mail at the other end.  Fortunately when I called this morning, they confirmed that the package was there. 
So we anxiously set out to enjoy a day in the Great Smoky Mountains and visit Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. 
At first it seemed like there weren't that many visitors.  It was a beautiful Fall drive.


Then it happened.  We found the visitors!
We made the mistake of wanting to visit Clingman's Dome.
That's not our picture of Clingman's Dome,
because we never saw it!
THIS is what WE saw...
A long, long, line of vehicles not going anywhere.  We all inched along.  Drivers that could, turned around... and I think that was the only reason we were able to inch along!
This wasn't our idea of a good time... and we had mail that we had to pick up in Pigeon Forge! 
So when we found a potential turn around spot, we did it.  I could just imagine what the people pulling the trailer were thinking... there was no way they were going to get turned around.
Finally out of that mess... we were able to enjoy the beauty of the mountains.

After exiting the park, we drove straight into Pigeon Forge and to the Post Office.
After getting our mail envelope, we took a lunch break...
looked around and headed for Gatlinburg.
But then it happened again...
Way too many people in one little place.
The entire stretch in and out of Gatlinburg was bumper to bumper and crowded sidewalks.
This wasn't at all what we expected out of Gatlinburg.  This looked to us to just be a tourist town with lots of places for people to eat, drink and spend money.
There was no more room for anyone to stop... even if they wanted to join the crowd.
So with us moving along so slowly, we rolled down the windows and snapped photos.

Now, tell me... if you have never been to Gatlinburg, but have wanted to visit Gatlinburg...
is THIS what you are expecting??
I'm also sure that if you HAVE truly visited Gatlinburg... you have a totally different take. 
This isn't really it... is it??

 We made our way back through the Smoky Mountains... and it really was beautiful.
But we were also very happy to be HOME, out of the crowds...
even if home is in a casino parking lot!

Saturday, October 19th
Hanging Out by the creek
We had no real plans for the day, but we weren't ready to leave either.  This casino place was great.  So we stayed the day.  We walked and rode the bicycles, and went into a local shop, where as usual we saw all kinds of things that we had no use for.  We did a few projects at the wheel house, and got ready to leave in the morning.
Sunday, October 20th
Bound for South Carolina
Because we had ended up at the North Carolina end of the Great Smoky Mountains... as much as we HAD wanted to visit Nashville... we weren't going to back track to go there.  Instead, we changed our trip plans to include South Carolina and Georgia, before going to Florida.
And we've had our fill of back road experiences for now, so we are staying on the Interstates.
We found a PA park in Kinards, SC.  160 miles away.  We arrived without incident... just a few traffic jams for whatever reason.
Monday, October 21st
Magnolia RV Park
We're staying at a PA park near Clinton, SC and Newberry, SC.  It's peaceful, and well run by a friendly couple.

Jeff always enjoys the chance to have a good fire.

Every once in a while we get motivated to accomplish something.  Tonight it was organizing our utility closet, for me... and repairing our outside speakers, for Jeff.

Our outdoor speakers have been blown for a long time, so we haven't been able to use them.  Tonight, Jeff took them apart and saw that they were torn around the edges.  So we got out the GOOP!  He repaired them and they sound great!!
I was tired of opening the utility door and getting hit in the head by the broom handle and having everything else fall out on the floor.  So we bought clamps to hold the handles on the wall.  It only took me 3 years to think of this!!
Tuesday, October 22nd
Travel Day
Travel Days have become simpler again.  We don't dread them so much.  We can get on an open interstate and just drive.  Today its 109 miles on I-26 then 70 miles on I-95.
WHOO HOO! I'm caught up on our travels!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Pennsylvania to Kentucky

Wednesday, October 9th
Ruined Plans

Yesterday we spent the day touring Amish Dutch Country.  I had woke with a back muscle spasm, but I had managed to get around.

Today, was a different story.  I was going to spend the day flat on my back.
SO... our plans of the York Harley Factory were out.

I'm so glad I have an understanding husband.  He didn't hold it against me.  He took care of me.

Thursday, October 10th
York and Gettysburg

Today was Travel Day.  Our 3 night reservation was up.  Fortunately, my back was a little better... I could get out of bed!

We had Google-Earthed both the York Harley Factory and Gettysburg Visitor Center, and saw that they did have parking for RV's.  So we set out for a travel day with stops at York and Gettysburg mapped out.

Both stops went smoothly... no getting lost or anything, but it was pouring rain all day, and the Big Rig parking lots aren't exactly close to the entrance, so we were a bit wet.

Harley Factory - York, PA

Gettysburg Museum & Visitor Center
The Museum & Visitor Center is not run by the Federal Government, so it was open.
But the National Park and Battlefield were closed due to the shutdown.

We landed at a Wal-Mart in Chambersburg, PA.  When we just need to stay the night, we are happy to stay for free in a Walmart parking lot.  This one was a good one.  It was a large parking lot so we able to park far enough away to be very comfortable. 

Friday, October 11th
 Happy Birthday, Mom!
Today is my Mom's 84th birthday.  Since she is in Oregon, I obviously was not there to join in the birthday celebration, but my sister Carol was there to fix her dinner and share in her special day.  Thank you Carol.
All my mom got from me was a phone call.   but if you know me... that is a big deal.

Meanwhile, back in the East...
It poured all night, so by morning, the Kayaks were full of water.  So Jeff put on his rain gear (I don't have any) and we tackled getting those weighted Kayaks off the rack and dumped.  So that this didn't keep happening, we needed to flip them over on the rack... and in order to do that we needed to remove our center bar.  So Jeff did all that, as well as replace a blown fuse under the hood.

 Pennsylvania to Maryland to West Virginia
 We drove 200 miles from Pennsylvania, into and out of Maryland, and into West Virginia.

It's not always easy to get a good pic of the State sign... especially when competing with the windshield wipers!

Sometimes we stop at the State Welcome Center... We did at West Virginia.
...and had a little fun

Again, we only needed a place to park for the night... so I found us another Walmart.  This one was in Clarksburg, WV.

About our Walmart stays... first I find them on our route, then I call ahead to see if they allow overnight parking, then I look the address up on Google Earth so we can see what it looks like.

This Walmart parking lot was a lot smaller, and Jeff's initial reaction was "I don't feel comfortable staying here".  But I was determined that we would make it work... so I talked him into parking, so we could walk up to Ruby Tuesday, then we would deal with it when we got back. 

Our first and only experience to a Ruby Tuesday was 3 years ago in North Platte, Indiana.  and it was a great experience, so we were anxious to try it again.   This Ruby Tuesday experience was just as good, and soon Jeff was "okay" with our staying in this lot.  Yay!  Also, a couple from Ontario came in with their motorhome, so we "teamed up" and made it our own little RV park strip.  Sometimes things are more comfortable if you're not alone.

Saturday, October 12th
 I'm a big shot!

Our next planned stop was Lexington, Kentucky... 300 miles away.  We could do it in one day, but why?  So we stopped at 130 miles in Cross Lanes, WV at Mardi Gras Casino where we could stay the night for free.

This place had 3 or 4 parking lots and none of them designated for RV's... but I had called ahead and was told we were Welcome to stay the night.  Usually the thing to do is park away from the building... and with all their parking, this wasn't hard to do.  We asked the security on duty about moving to the far end of this lot and unhooking so we could go get fuel for the generator.  He didn't see a problem with it, so WHY AM I A BIG SHOT??  Because while Jeff was scouting out the parking lot, I jumped in the truck and pulled the 5er WAY across the parking lot, across a lane of traffic even... to the end of the lot.  THEN I backed us up onto some levelers!  Whoo Hoo!  Ya I know, more like "Whoopty-Do" probably... but I FELT like a big shot!

 An explanation of the above collage of photos:
The top photo is where we initially parked and leveled and unhooked.
The bottom photos are where we ended up staying.  While in the casino, they paged the owner of a fifth wheel with Oregon plates... that would be us!  Jeff wasn't there at the moment, so I went to the security office and stated our case, and they stated theirs.  Apparently the night security had come on duty and they thought where we parked was unacceptable.  They wanted us to move to their undesignated "designated RV parking".  So it was a little work, but very little since we hadn't pulled the slides out... so we did.  End of Story.

 Sunday, October 13th

We had a reservation at Fort Boone State Park, out of Lexington, KY.  This park is popular, and not easy to get a reservation.  We managed to get a site that would accommodate us for 3 nights. 
It's nice to have hookups... after 3 nights without.  Unlimited water is the best thing about hookups.  The next thing is knowing what time it is when we wake up, and not having to go turn the generator on.

This place was SERIOUS about October and Halloween!

Monday, October 14th

Our plans for the day were to check out Lexington.  We had some packages we needed to get put in the mail, there was a 12 mile bicycle trail called "Legacy Trail", a Harley Dealership, and there were 3 breweries in town, so we had selected one.

We took a beautiful back country road to Lexington.

What are these?
From a distance, I thought "I didn't know tennis balls grew on trees!"

Our first stop in Lexington was to be the Post Office to get that out of the way... but nobody told us it was Columbus Day!

So we headed for the local Harley Dealership...
Man O'War Harley Davidson
We made our usual dealership shot glass purchase

Next up was the Legacy Trail.  An access to the trail was at the YMCA. 

We rode only 3 miles of the trail.  There were parts of it that were nice, but much of it went through parking lots and across or along streets.  It's great that they have a designated walking or biking trail for the locals, but its not that great for visitors.

After those grueling 6 miles, we were ready for a trip to a local brewery.
We had chose WEST SIXTH BREWING.  The reason we chose it was that they had 10 beers on Tap that were ALL their brews.  When we go to a brewery, it is to experience THEIR brews.  To me, a brewery with 32 beers on tap, with only 3 of them being their own... is no different than going to any bar.
Jeff selected their West Sixth IPA (of course) and after tasting a few, I went with their Pumpkin Ale.
Both were very good.
Our bartender was Aaron... who was very friendly and eager to please.  He was good at his job.
When he went off duty, he sat down with us and chatted until we left.

Tuesday, October 15th
 Kayaking Kentucky River

 Although it wasn't real warm, it was warm enough... and we were eager to get the kayaks in some water.  Besides, when would we be on the Kentucky River again?

It wasn't the most beautiful water, for sure...
                                          but there is history here!
 Ever watch the show "Daniel Boone"?  This is his territory.

After our kayaking, we went over to the Fort, only to find it closed.  So we drove into Winchester to look around and finally mail our packages.  We got the packages mailed, but didn't really see anything else we wanted to see.  So we went home and did laundry!

Wednesday, October 16th
Onward to Tennessee

Today was travel day... we would have stayed put another day or so, but our reservation was up and someone else was coming in.

Before we hooked up, we drove over to the Fort.  It was open, but even though we were staying at the park, they wanted $8 per person to look around.  We thought that was ridiculous... so we took a few photos and left.
Fort Boonseborough

After our brief visit, we hit the road for Tennessee.  But this is the end of this post.
I will pick up here on the next post!
Hope you're enjoying where you're at!
Thanks for checking in.