Monday, June 27, 2016

Florida - Three Stops


We made a two night stop in Callahan starting on June 14, 2016. This was the half way point from Walterboro to Winter Haven. We stayed at Kelly's Countryside Campground
The owners are very nice, and wanted to know all about Asheville, which of course we love to talk about. The campground is right on Hwy 301 so there was some road noise. Sites are pretty narrow but long enough for the RV, tow-dolly and parking the car. Laundry room was clean, and there was a large field for walking the dog. We paid $30.60 a night with our Good Sam Discount.
We hadn't planned on unhooking the car but the heat was so high we decided we needed another small fan, so off to the store we went. Did our shopping and arrived home only to discover we bought everything else except the fan we needed - back we went. The memory just isn't what it used to be! In our travels we found one roadside oddity. A very large golf ball which one can only assume was a sign at one time, maybe for a golf course that no longer exists. 

Winter Haven

Wedding weekend started on June 16, 2016. We stayed at Cypress Campground and RV Park, it is on Hwy 540 but there was no real road noise. 

The campground is very large, a number of permanent sites, but kept up very well. The sites are about average width and just long enough for our RV, tow-dolly and parking the car. The amenities include a pool, shuffle board courts, basketball court, mini-golf, bocce ball courts, a playground and a fenced dog park. The bathrooms were very clean and there were multiple bathhouses through out the campground. Shopping is close enough to walk to and just 10 minutes from downtown Winter Haven. We paid $35.00 a night with our Good Sam Discount.
We started off Friday morning meeting the Barrett clan at Dunkin Donuts. The groom and best-man, David John and Sam, headed off to tackle wedding projects. Sue and grandson Alias spent the day at Legoland

Dave, Les's brother joined us for the day. We headed south to Punta Gorda to get a picture of one of the Florida Peter Wolf Toth Indians.
This is the first one that has a face carved on both sides. It is the 10th statue on the Trail of the Whispering GiantsCalostimucuI was carved in 1974 out of a Guanacasta (Ear Tree), the National tree of Costa Rica. 

After picture taking we had lunch at an Irish Pub in town. Drove the hour and a half back to Winter Haven only to discover that Nancy left her purse at the pub. Grrrr - we were not a happy car load of people. So back we went an hour and a half and then back to Winter Haven again! It was a long day - told ya the memory thing is not the best! 
On the way back the first time we stopped to get a picture of another Indian Carving, it looks a lot like a Peter Wolf Toth, but there is nothing to indication that it is. 

Here comes the bride
Wedding Day! The wedding of David John and Rebecca is what brought us to this extremely hot place and we are so glad we came. It was a beautiful ceremony and the couple was glowing with happiness. It was nice to meet Rebecca's rather large family and to catch up with Sue's family that we haven't seen in decades. 
With this ring ~~~ Mr and Mrs Barrett

The Barrett Men
Sam ~ David John ~ Alias ~ Dave

It is always so much fun being with Dave and Sue. Dave can be so silly.

David John
Dave and Sue
The reception was lovely, the food was delicious and the cakes her Aunt made were beautiful. David John is an engineer on an Alaskan fishing boat, so the grooms cake was perfect. 

A sparkler arch was the finish to a fun day - looks like Rebecca loved the get-away car. They drove off into a beautiful sunset. 

Even Nancy gets silly sometimes.

We happened to be in Lakeland on Father's Day. Nancy's dad lived and breathed Tiger's Baseball, so it was the perfect day to be at Tiger Town. They are doing a lot of work to the stadium but we were able to get some pictures.

If there is one thing Nancy's dad loved as much as baseball it would have to be beer, so of course we stopped at a brewery! A beer and a hot-dog, perfect!  Les had the dog and Nancy had the best grilled cheese she has ever eaten. Lakeland Brewery is in an old warehouse and decorated so nice inside - a mix of industrial and chic! 

The brewery is across the street from Mirror Lake, it gives you a great view while sitting on their dog friendly patio. The lake is surround by a park and has art along the walkway, and is home to a number of ducks and geese.

A Roadside Oddity can also be found there. "Blinky" the one eyed gator was a favorite with locals, until he met his match against a crocodile. So they created a memorial to him. 
Munn Park in downtown Lakeland has a painted tree! It is part of the Pop Up Art Project supporting the Arts and bringing awareness to downtown Lakeland. 
 While Nancy was taking pictures of the tree, a bird wanted to get in on the photo shoot and landed in the perfect spot for a shot!

Silver Springs

When we left Winter Haven on June 20, 2016 we weren't done with family yet. Next up was Nancy's brother who lives in Silver Springs. It has been eight years since we have seen Bob and his wife Bonnie. So this was a long over due visit. 
We stayed at the Wilderness RV Park. It is a very large park, with three different sections. Most are permanent sites and you can purchase a site. Our site was long and wider than normal.The entire park is very well kept up and they have lots of amenities, an Olympic sized pool, fitness room, game room and a restaurant right on site. Good food and friendly service, and a small gift shop with homemade Whoopie Pies. 

While we were only there for two days, it was great catching up with them. Bob has always done beautiful cabinets and woodworking and their house is truly a labor of love. Bonnie makes amazing hats for the Red Hatters and Black Hatters, they are just beautiful. We are hoping to get back here come winter when Nancy's cousins are in town from Michigan. 

Next stop is Cottondale, FL. and a visit with more family.

Till we meet again...

Happy Trails to You! 

Tips and things we have learned along the way.
~ Cooking outdoors
When camping in the heat, the last thing we want to do is create more heat inside the RV. Just using the stove (gas burners), can't increase the heat level dramatically, and the oven is even worse.
Grilling out is always tasty, and keeps the heat outside. The one draw back is how do you travel with a grill? Like most RVer's we have just about every space filled with something. The Coleman Fold n' Go was our solution. It folds up and fits into a nice carry case that also holds the extra griddle and stove top accessories as well as the propane tank. The surface is plenty big enough, with room for six burgers, or two foil pans of veggies! 

Monday, June 20, 2016

South Carolina - Waltersboro


On June 10, 2016 we headed to South Carolina. We stopped at South of the Boarder, which is right at the South Carolina boarder. 
It is the most insane tourist place we have ever seen.

A dozen or so buildings line both sides of the street, they are filled with every tourist trinket that you can think of. Along with restaurants, a coffee shop, ice cream parlor, and a reptile zoo. 

The parking lots and street are lined with statues of all kinds. Colorful and crazy would be a good description! 
There is a large tower that you can ride a glass elevator to the top and then get out to see the view. We passed on this offer but couldn't resist trying on a few hats. 

We stayed at Eagles RV Campground. We came here not really knowing much about this place. There were no reviews on any sites, but it was in the perfect location for the sightseeing we wanted to do. We crossed our fingers and hoped for the best. 

It is a small camp, right on Hwy 15 which was a little loud at times. Most of the sites are filled with permanent residents, they are fairly well kept up. The owner is super nice and is living in his RV while remolding the house on the property. He brought us dinner one night, a slab of ribs and collard greens, can't beat that. He has plans to add bathrooms and laundry, neither of which exist now, and a small camp store. The sites are all pull through but are laid out so that you are driving across grass to pull into your site, so our tow-dolly was sitting on the grass. Sites are full hook up with 30 and 50 amp. The WiFi worked fairly well. 

Charleston, SC was one days outing. The South Carolina Peter Wolf Toth Indian is in the Charles Towne Landing State Park
This is the first one we have had to pay to see. In talking with the Park Ranger, there seems to be plans to move it to another park in town. 
While we were glad we could see it and add it to our picture collection, we were a little disappointed in the upkeep of it for being in a State Park. The tree that is next to it is covering it up and it hasn't been treated for the elements or bugs. 
This statue was carved in 1976 and is the 23rd on the Trail of the Whispering Giants. He is 22-feet tall and carved out of oak and is named Landing Brave. 

The park itself is very nice, they have Civil War memorials, an Indian section (not where the Peter Toth is) and a small animal park. 

Right after taking the picture of the carving, the skies opened and it started pouring so we didn't explore much more. 

With this sign at the waters edge - Nancy wasn't going any closer to
get a picture of this turtle enjoying the sun
The river front in Charleston has a nice walkway, that is wide enough for people to fish off of and people to walk past. Across from the walkway is a beautiful little park. There was a wedding in the gazebo as we drove past. 
The river was filled with boats of all sizes, small sailboats to ferries. We watched as one boat was making a wide sweeping turn as another was approaching. We hope they weren't as close together as they looked. 
At the end of the shopping area, old factory buildings filled with places to eat and shop, there is a large fountain for cooling off in. Just past the fountain we came across a wall, yes, just a wall - would love to know what the plans are. 

We crossed the Cooper River to Mt. Pleasant on the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. It is the third longest cable-stayed bridge in the Western Hemisphere. You can actually walk across the 2.5-mile bridge, but we all know that Nancy had no desire to do so.

In Mt. Pleasant you will find Patriots Point, there are a number of military museums and displays.
There is an aircraft carrier that you can tour and also a Vietnam Experience Exhibit, which Les had no desire to do. For anyone into military history, this would be the place to go.

We made it to the Atlantic Ocean and found a rectangular lighthouse. The Sullivan Island Lighthouse was the last one in the U.S. that was built by the Coast Guard. It is 163-feet tall and the two rotating beacons can be seen for 26 miles. 

Nancy was very happy to get her feet in the ocean, it was so nice and warm. She would also like to live in the wedding cake house at the end of the beach! 

We did find a Roadside Oddity, a larger than life Shriner. He is holding a little girl that kinda looks like a little old lady! 

Savannah, GA is a favorite, we have been here before but not for many years. 
If you go you need to check out River Street, but drive carefully, the road is made out of rocks so it is a little bumpy. One side of the street is lined with shops, eateries and bars - one of which has Nancy's nephews name on it. The other side of the street is a walkway along the river. It has beautiful flower gardens and art work. There are also a number of hotels in every price range. 

We headed off to Tybee Island, a first for both of us. Cute little town, full of vacation rentals and hotels. A nice beach front and lots of specialty shops. 
We enjoyed lunch at The Crab Shack, a wonderfully tacky Tiki type place. 

We sat outside on the patio, the food was delicious and the service was great. 
They also have an alligator pond. 

After browsing through some of the shops, a stop at the Tybee Lighthouse ended our day. 

The original lighthouse was built in 1732, when this was still the 13th colony. It is one of seven surviving colonial era lighthouses. 
This current one is the fourth tower at this station. The first tower, built of wood, was lost to a storm in 1741. The second tower, built of stone and wood in 1742, had no illumination but was topped with a flag pole and was lost to shoreline erosion. The third tower built in 1772 was constructed of brick, it was illuminated with reflectors and candles, a second tower was built next to it in 1822 to form a range and both towers had Fresnel lenses added in 1857. In 1862 both were burned by Confederate forces and the lenses were taken. In 1866 construction was started on this fourth tower, it was delayed due to a cholera outbreak. This new tower was 154-feet tall, it suffered some damage from a hurricane in 1871 and was replaced with an iron one. In 1933 the tower was electrified and the beacon was automated in 1972. The grounds are open to the public, and included a museum. They offer sunset tours twice a month, a small private tour of the grounds and lighthouse. 

We found a roadside oddity on our way back home. Two life-sized elephants outside a fireworks store. 

A quick stop in Callahan, FL then onto Winter Haven for a wedding.

Till we meet again...

Happy Trails to You! 

Tips and things we have learned along the way. 
~ Keeping your cool.
RV's aren't exactly known for there great insulation. A problem for both hot and cold weather. While we try to stay as far away from cold as possible, heat is another story. The extremely large windshield doesn't help much either, and while we can't really insulate the rest of the RV, we can block off the windshield. Finding a sunscreen to fit this space was quite a challenge. They do not make any the size of our RV window, so we took matters into our own hands and made one to fit. You can purchase large rolls of window screen material, it comes in a variety of sizes to fit most windows. With a little adjustment made with tape and scissors we can now cover the entire window. It not only keeps it at least 20 degrees cooler it makes it nice and dark at night. When not in use we roll it up and stand it in the closet.