Monday, October 31, 2011

Charleston SC…

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2011-10-28 Charleston SC 025A few days ago after a leisurely breakfast of coffee and breakfast tacos, we read about Charleston on the internet and began to plan our day. Parking was free along Battery Park and we found a parking place with ease. After exploring the park we followed our plan to walk the neighborhoods between Battery Park and Broad Street. What a treat it was to see the old, restored well-kept homes and read the history on their historical markers. We also saw that most of the homeowners created an oasis in their small yards and entry ways. It gave us opportunities for many a fascinating peek into Charleston City Life.
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2011-10-28 Charleston SC 035Broad Street was bustling with shoppers. A Carnival Cruise ship was docked so tourists were browsing wares at the Central Market such as locally hand woven sweet-grass baskets and other artisan wares. Along the side streets were ice cream and gelato stores, seafood restaurants and other lures for the masses. It had a very happy and busy vibe. The walk back through the neighborhoods offered the sight of preschool children in their purple uniforms lining up to cross the street and a family dog peering longingly outside through the fence. We had the best time losing ourselves through the neighborhood sidewalks and alley ways.
2011-10-28 Charleston SC 043We enjoy touring colleges so since the Citadel was close by we ventured over to take a look. Immediately we noticed that we had stumbled upon an event as the main quad was sectioned off with cones and guards. We circled around looking for a parking spot and chuckled when we saw a warning in one lot that it floods sometimes in High Tides. We elected not to park in that lot! After parking in a place near the quad, we asked a fellow walker what was happening and he explained that every Friday is Parade Day for the cadets. He explained that even “way back when” he was a student, they marched every Friday all four years he attended there. He also said that as a result often the spectators enjoy it so much more than do the cadets!

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2011-10-28 Charleston SC 041The Citadel band marched out first. What a treat it was to see the band led by bagpipers in kilts as well as the two showy drum majors exaggerating each movement in sync with one another. The band marched across the length of the field to the far left hand corner of the parade field while playing military march tunes. In turn thereafter each and every cadet marched in from the middle and corners of the parade field led by flag bearers marking their particular battalion. The female cadets wore their hair in buns so they blended in with the male cadets quite well. There were also cadet uniforms adorned with sashes of different colors. We did not know what the colors signified but it made for an interesting look. The marching tunes gave a patriotic feel and we were more than glad we happened there on parade day.
2011-10-28 Charleston SC 042The architecture of the school is castle-like and crisp creamy white especially against the blue sunny sky. Flags flew atop every building and many of the flagpoles sported a golden eagle adornment. The practice fields and athletic venues looked great. We noticed there would be a football game the next day (Saturday) at 1pm against VMI. We toyed with the idea of purchasing a ticket but our beloved Texas A&M Aggies were to play at the same time and we already planned to watch that game against Missouri at home on our computer.
2011-10-28 Charleston SC 039We had such a great time in Savannah that we kind of overlooked Charleston the last time we were in the area. We are so glad we decided to take a closer look at Charming Charleston and would not hesitate to visit again one day. Maybe next time we will even catch a sporting event at the Citadel!
Note: Sharon also wrote this blog as can be told by her distinctly different style of prose. Today was a travel day as we headed further south to the state of Georgia…
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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Planning the Mayo visit and where to winter…

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2011-10-28 Charleston SC 018We are slowly making our way to Jacksonville Florida for appointments made at the Mayo Clinic for our annual examinations. Getting established as patients was a chore involving a week back and forth of calls between the Mayo and our doctors back home for necessary paperwork and forwarding of records. If you desire to become a patient at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, start early!

Our current stop is in charming Charleston S.C. The name of the park is Lake Aire RV. This is a Passport America park with pull through sites and 30 or 50 amp and full hookups. There is a laundry, pool, playground, pavilion, creek and “lake”. The lake is very dry at the moment and although it offers “free fish and release”, we doubt there are ANY fish to catch. That being said, the wooded area and the creek make you feel as though you are not in the city. Our plan is to stay here until the 31st then a night in Georgia then Jacksonville in time for pre-registration paperwork and appointments bright and early on November 2nd.

Beyond that we only know that we want to spend about three months in Florida. Maybe a month east of Florida, a month in the south then a month in west 2011-10-28 Charleston SC 006Florida. It sure is hard to plan ahead until we finish up at the Mayo. Since we are new patients to the clinic, we have no idea how long it takes to test and get results, etc. We are hoping that our delaying making reservations won’t impact us as all the snowbirds make their way down ahead of us! Again, if any of you know great month-long stays in Florida, we appreciate suggestions!

2011-10-28 Charleston SC 022With the promise of good weather on the day we arrived, we ventured over to nearby Folly Beach. The beach is wide and long making it feel not crowded even though there were several families, joggers, college students and a honeymoon couple nearby. There weren’t many sea birds or boats to look at through our binoculars but it was still very relaxing to sit in the sea breeze and hear the sounds of waves crashing. We recently purchased some beach chairs ($6.00 apiece on sale at a grocery store) which was a great investment because we have used them a lot lately. The traffic was really thick to and from the beach and we speculated that if it was this bad in the “off” season, it must be gridlock in peak season! The town by Folly Beach had lots of inviting pubs and lounges offering great Happy Hour deals. We were too tired to stay longer to enjoy the establishments but made a mental note to maybe return one day. Travel days make us tired so it was nice to get home and relax watching the World Series.

Sharon guest wrote the above blog and also made me the very nice lunch above of Ham and Swiss on a Homemade Roll with a Parmesan Covered Baked Sliced Tomato… I think all your comments about how lucky she was for having me make her such a nice birthday meal, made her want to cook a nice lunch for me… boy thanks for all your kind comments!!!

Note: Pictures today are the remaining pictures we took at our last visit to Huntington Beach State Park the day before we arrived here.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A surprise birthday for Ms. Heyduke…


Yesterday was Ms. Heyduke’s birthday and we had planned a quiet uneventful day of lounging at the beach followed by a nice home cooked dinner – of course her choice. But alas that was only what Ms. Heyduke thought we were going to do…

317669_10150337720661139_550561138_8209906_311045078_nThe day started no differently than any other as I awoke at the crack of dawn (sooner actually). I have always done so and will apparently do so for the rest of my life as I believe that I must have been cursed in a previous life. Then at a more reasonable hour I wake Sharon unless she has already gotten up and then we start the day with some freshly brewed coffee. I was preparing to make us breakfast when the call came… What call? you say… The call from my daughter who was driving to Myrtle Beach to surprise her mother with a visit on her birthday!!!

297124_10150337719041139_550561138_8209898_1015028423_nSo I make the excuse to leave for a minute and go and guide our daughter to a nice secluded parking spot and we then we both return to the RV. As I walked in Sharon was helping me by cooking the home made tortillas I had made and then she looked up and shrieked a happy and loud squeal of glee… Our baby girl had come to surprise her mama on her birthday and that was the best gift she could give to her.

291753_10150340496536139_550561138_8224633_1695325506_nWe three enjoyed the rest of the day down by the beach during another exceptional weather day here in Myrtle Beach. I cooked us up some home made clam chowder and followed it up with some panko fried shrimp and fish along with some fried mushrooms and onion rings… to make it just a bit healthy we also baked some sweet potato fries for another side… What a great all you can eat feast we had and a happy birthday was had by Ms. Heyduke. To top it all off a birthday call from our son and one of her best friends made it an even better day…

Happy Birthday Sharon!!! Hope you enjoyed it because tomorrow is a moving day and we will make our way over to Charleston, SC for a wee bit…

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Life is just beachy…

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We are really enjoying our time here at Myrtle Beach and had almost forgotten how much we really enjoy being near the ocean. The beach offers us so much in variety of what we are able to do for entertainment. Our favorite things to do at the beach:

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  • just lounge away while enjoying the sun and the sounds of the surf
  • set in a chair and read while absorbing all that is around
  • riding bicycles along the hard packed sand
  • stroll up and down the beach

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  • search for treasures along the shoreline
  • watch the sun rise or set on the water
  • just stand and listen to the surf crashing in alongside the beach
  • watch the birds fishing and flitting along
  • people watching is always entertaining along the beach
  • watch for dolphins and whales

2011-10-21 Huntington Beach SP 059Did you notice I didn’t put fishing on the list? It isn’t because I don’t like to fish it is just very expensive for us “out of staters” to get legally licensed to fish in each state we pass through. I sure wish they would offer a national fishing license for those of us who reside in all of the United States and not just in one… sigh…

Sharon has always been a “beach bum” and I have always been a “mountain man” but there is a part of me that also loves the beach. So we are both looking forward to spending part of our winter time along the beach by the ocean enjoying the sights and sounds and all that it provides… Maybe, just maybe, I will buy a fishing license while in Florida to enjoy that part of the beach as well…

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Blog pondering…

2011-10-21 Huntington Beach SP 002As was not unexpected the comments to my last blog on to launder or not were very polar. Having only been involved in the RV community for less than two years (less than one as a fulltimer)  it 2011-10-21 Huntington Beach SP 051seems that most people who RV have very strong opinions in their likes and dislikes. Whether it be laundry or not, 5er or motorhome, diesel or gas etc. RV’ers usually have a strong opinion. When I post a blog such a blog like the one on laundry I was not trying to imply which is better or worse, I am merely expressing our opinion of our likes and dislikes. I do love, however, that many others commented on that blog since one of the purposes of our blog is to inform others as to what they may expect in this fulltime lifestyle of RV’ing.

I remember when we were first getting the itch to sell all our stuff and run away from society in an RV that it was blogs and newsgroups where we found our most useful information. So every now and then I feel an obligation to “pay back” those who blogged before us with our own little tidbits of what works for us and 2011-10-21 Huntington Beach SP 048will continue to do so in future blogs. The other purpose of our blog was to be a log of our journey that our kids and grandkids could follow as well as some of our friends and acquaintances. Not real sure any of them do but it was a purpose…

I have also found (now that we are on the road) that it is fulfilling to sit down and collect our thoughts on what we have experienced and then put them in writing. Doing so not only provides us a historic account of what we have done or where we have been but it also gives a time to pause and reflect upon the “moments” we have enjoyed while visiting all these wonderful places we have in our country that so many other Americans seems to ignore…

2011-10-21 Huntington Beach SP 054Enough pondering and back to Myrtle Beach State Park… We had heard how nice Huntington Beach State Park was and how sorry we would be going to Myrtle Beach SP when we could have gone to Huntington Beach SP. So we visited Huntington Beach SP since the two State Parks are only about 17 miles apart. This means you can stay in one and visit the other with no additional fees. For those of you who visit the area I would have to agree in part that Huntington SP has more diversity of trails and may be a tad nicer but as far as the rest goes II really don’t see a huge difference between the two parks. They both have nice trails, facilities and campgrounds and have a very nice stretch of beach to visit. The weather here has been fantastic and since the beach has not been very crowded we are really enjoying a relaxing time here in Myrtle Beach.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Washer/Dryer vs Coin Operated Laundry…

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Today we are moving from Briarcliffe RV Resort near North Myrtle Beach south to the Myrtle Beach State Park. The state park is just south of Myrtle Beach so this short drive of only 20 miles or so will be more of an inconvenience than a change of location. It will, however, provide for a better change of scenery. At Briarcliffe we were surrounded by RV’s and stand alone rental units and were a short drive to the beach. At the state park we will be surrounded by forest and just a short walk to the beach… much better in my opinion.

The weather here has changed considerably from highs in the low eighties to highs in the upper 60’s to near 70. With the rain and wind that came through the area during the frontal passage it provided us the opportunity to do laundry. We don’t have our own washer/dryer in the rig so we have to search out a coin operated laundry to get it all done.

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Now I know there are two sides to having a washer/dryer and not having one but we are still happy with our decision to forgo having a washer/dryer. So what are the pros and cons of having our own washer and dryer to us?

Pros of us not having a washer/dryer:

  • most important was the increased storage we have in our bathroom.
  • we also prefer to get all our laundry done at once rather than in smaller more frequent loads.
  • it allows us the opportunity to get more insight into the community we are visiting by either talking with the customers or just observing them
  • we don’t have to have full hookups all the time (sewage) thus saving money at campgrounds and resorts
  • it gives us a chance to catch up on our reading

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Cons of us not having a washer/dryer:

  • it is inconvenient to have to search for a coin operated laundry
  • we have to always make sure we have ample quarters on hand
  • we are at the mercy of the laundry store that their units are working properly and haven’t had someone adding dyes to their clothes before we use the washers
  • there is the added cost of having to do laundry
  • we would have to do some laundry just about everyday due to the size of the units sold for RV’s

Meeting more bloggers at Myrtle BeachNow I am sure I left off some pros and cons to others but these are our reasons why after nearly eight months on the road that we are still happy with our decision to not have one installed in our rig. Your mileage may vary…

Now if I could have just one wish to make our laundry days a little easier it would be to have a web site like rv park reviews that rated laundry facilities since it is occasionally difficult to find a nice facility in some towns. Please get to work on this for us soon you web coders…

ps. photos are from the nearby strip mall called Barefoot Landing that we can walk to (it has lots of boardwalks over the water that make for an enjoyable stroll), and the last photo is from our trivia encounter with the “Boonedocks” bloggers.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Yet another day for the beach…

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With a change in weather coming very soon (rain and colder air on the way) we decided it best to cram in a few more beach days. So for the most part we have either been lounging along the beach or taking long walks along the beach… both of these activities suits us just fine.

2011-10-17 Myrtle Beach 009We came across a huge RV park right on the beach right in the middle of Myrtle Beach named Apache Family Campground and Pier. We walked around the mostly full campground and as the header picture might suggest they really pack them in here. The sites are extremely close together with slides nearly touching slides. Very few awnings were out due to the proximity of your neighbor. Definitely not my kind of place, I don’t care how close to the water it is.

We walked out on the nearby pier since there seemed to be lots of fishermen out there. A lot of people were catching a lot of2011-10-17 Myrtle Beach 025 small fish they were calling spots – in Texas we called them croakers but to the scientists they are Leiostomus xanthurus. At the very end of the pier there were a lot of big fishing rigs set up and after listening to few people talk they were apparently fishing for King Mackerel. According to the chatter there were over a dozen of these fish caught off this pier last year. I can’t even imagine hauling in a fish weighing upwards to 50 lbs off the end of this pier.

Last night we made our way over to a sports bar with a fairly nice happy hour to meet up with another blogger to play some trivia. We both read each others blogs and we decided to meet up since we were both in the Myrtle Beach area. Both of us are recent fulltimers and if you want to read  their blog go check out The Boonedocks. We really enjoyed playing trivia and getting to know Gary and Leeanne. We look forward to crossing paths again some day down the road…

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Myrtle Beach…

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Our 200 mile drive onto South Carolina was fairly uneventful… well there were those roads with absolutely no shoulders and semis coming from the other direction… However, we made it to Briarcliffe RV Resort a Passport America park 2011-10-17 Myrtle Beach 013we had heard good things about. Our initial perception is that it is a really nice park and it is right in the middle of the town of North Myrtle Beach… however, the sites are really close together and fairly tight. Good that a nice fellow moved his jeep so I could make the tight turn around the tree when I was backing into the site. Given all that… this park seems to be a nice and friendly park and it is nice to have full hookups for a change…
2011-10-17 Myrtle Beach 007The beach is less than one and quarter miles from our rig and everything we could possibly need is within five miles. We will stay here for then next five days and then head over to Myrtle Beach State Park which I hope won’t be as tight and I am pretty sure we wont be parked as close to our neighbors as we are now.
With an 80 percent chance of rain tomorrow and a high today predicted in the 80’s, we chose 2011-10-17 Myrtle Beach 006today as a beach day. I was a bit concerned about the beach being crowded since the last time we were here the traffic was horrible along the beach front. What a difference several months makes as there is virtually no traffic and only a few people on the beach this glorious Monday.
We got to the beach in ideal weather and as a result we stayed for the entire afternoon… lounging… sunning… relaxing… walking along the beach. We were not only treated to great weather but while there we say an osprey flying overhead with a fish in his/hers talons, a bald eagle flying in towards the shore after a tough day of fishing, and two dolphins frolicking in the surf…
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Yes, I think we are going to enjoy our stay in Myrtle Beach even with the rain on the horizon… good thing we need to do laundry!!!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Making medical appointments and camp reservations…

exposed roots

Our time here is coming to a close now that we have the motorhome repaired and ready to go. We had a nice visit with our daughter and really enjoyed our time here fish and chipsat Jordan Lake State Recreation Area in Apex, NC. This park is a really nice place to stay if you need to stay in the Raleigh Durham Chapel Hill area. The sites are fairly large and wooded with many having nice view of the lake. It is beautiful looking out our window at the changing trees with the lake as a backdrop. Last night it was so nice we even made fish and chips with mushrooms and onion rings outside (we rarely fry foods but will occasional treat ourselves to some scrumptious fish and chips).

The park has lots of trails and plenty of park roads for nice bike riding. You can hike along the beach for over a mile and being here while the trees are changing into their f2011-10-14 Jordan Lake NC 005all wardrobe was just a plus. There are few campers here this time of year so there were days it seemed as if we had the entire place to ourselves. The only downside to the park is that they lock you in at 8:00 pm. Yes, they close the entrance gate and you have no way out. Not too bad a thing for us since we don’t go out much at night anymore but it restricts what you can plan to do. I can only wonder how their lawyers will scramble one day when someone needs urgent medical assistance and dies because they can’t leave…YIKES!!! What are they thinking!!!

While here we have been planning our next 30 days out to see where we will end up. The first thing we had to do was to make appointments for our annual physicals that we are both overdue for. We chose to schedule all of our medical appointments at the world-class medical care facility, Jacksonville, Florida Mayo View out our front windowClinic. We have been fortunate in our seven months on the road and haven’t had to see a doctor for any reason… we haven’t even gotten a cold since we retired… hmmmm, I wonder if there is something to this early retirement gig?

But with our physicals schedule for November 2nd we now know the timeline we have to get to Jacksonville. With Myrtle Beach next on the horizon I had lots of commenters suggesting to us to go to Huntington Beach State Park in SC but we could not get anything for the upcoming weekends so we settled for Myrtle Beach State Park. Before we go to Myrtle Beach State Park we will stay at a Passport America park named Briarcliffe RV Resort that we also heard good things about. We so very, very much appreciate all the camp suggestions on where to stay., we appreciate your wisdom…

One last stay before Jacksonville will be Hardeeville RV Park near Savannah Georgia, a Passport America park we have stayed at before and liked. This will allow us to visit one of our favorite southern cities, Savannah. We haven’t booked anything near Jacksonville Florida yet but will likely stay at a Passport America park named Pecan Park RV Resort for a few days to scope out the area for a longer stay if needed to get all our appointments finished. Now all we need to do is to figure out where in Florida we want to stay for the winter. We are thinking of staying in three different spots for a month each (one west coast, one south, and one east coast). Any ideas? We really do appreciate the suggestions and recommendations you all may have.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Repairs done… back to the lake

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We took the motorhome over to Raleigh, NC to a freightliner dealer to have them look at our leaking front axle seal which needed to be taken care of. Of course the time of our appointment had us driving over to Raleigh just before 9:00 am in a driving rain storm… sigh. Traffic was pretty heavy but it was at least moving.

We got to the Tri-Point Truck Center northeast of Raleigh around 9:30 am and it rained the whole way. The rain was still pelting us as we disconnected the toad and checked in with the service manager. The service guy said he would call when they knew something for sure but it might be a while. So we packed an overnight bag (just in case) and headed south to check out a few more RV parks in the area… man there just aren’t many very nice RV parks in this part of North Carolina.

2011-07-27 NC State and bike ride 022Since we were near where our daughter works we stopped by and informed her we may need to spend the night if her roomies would let us, otherwise we needed to find a hotel for the night… or two or three. Then the service guy called and said that the motorhome repairs might be done by 4:00 pm but that the hydraulic switch on the recall notice wouldn’t be done till the next day. So we checked with our daughter and she said the roomies were cool with us spending the night at their place. This meant we needed to go to the grocery store and buy some food to cook dinner for the ladies.

When we use to visit back when our daughter played softball we always cooked a big meal for the ladies so we know these ladies can eat. We bought a couple of pork tenderloins and some potatoes, onions and carrots and put together a succulent roasted pork tenderloin dinner with veggies and some southern corn bread. I don’t know where all the food went but it was pretty much devoured.

2011-07-30 Shenandoah State Park 038The next morning we got the call that said our repairs would be completed by noon. We left our daughters and got to the service center by 1:30 pm. We went in and paid our share of the bill (a little of $110) as our Good Sam Warranty paid the remainder (YAYYY) Thank you Good Sam!!! We have only good things to say about the Tri-Point Truck Center and whole heartedly recommend them if you are in the Raleigh area in need of repairs. Very professional shop!

Now we are back at Jordan Lake State Rec area for the next 4 or 5 days and then our plan is to head south to Myrtle Beach, SC for a week or more… We are ready to get back to our everyday full-timer lifestyle!!!