Never make promises you can’t keep. That’s what I’m telling myself today as I finally get a clean chance to sit down and update everyone on our whereabouts. Once again, it’s been a while since my last travel post, but I’m here now!
After leaving Williamsburg, VA, we have covered many miles. Not by choice, however. We are not familiar with the East Coast weather, so we hightailed it south before it got too cold… or worse! Yes, we do have a weather radio, but we also wanted to be where we need to vote. As newbies, our planning is a little ‘off’. We missed voting absentee by a day or two and, because this is such an important election, we had to be “home” to vote in Tuesday’s election. We would not miss an opportunity to vote for the world! Plus, the holiday season is upon us and “home” is where we want to be… with family. Craig and I have already discussed flying home in the future when we wish (or need) to be there. It would certainly be more cost-effective than the fuel and campground fees it costs to “fly” home, pulling our home on wheels behind us. So, that option will certainly be given some serious consideration if/when the time comes. Except, however, we hate to fly!
Update: We give praise to our Heavenly Father for answered prayers on the election results! He heard our prayers from Heaven! Keep praying, peeps! It’s not over, yet! There’s a lot of work to be done.
Let’s see… The last time you were here we were leaving Williamsburg, VA. Well, after leaving Williamsburg we headed approximately 203 miles down to Apex, NC on Monday, September 6, where we stayed two nights at Jordan Lake Recreation Area. This area comprises several state park areas and is absolutely beautiful. It was during the week, so we pretty much had the park to ourselves. We pulled in and parked right on the lake and set up. Satellite reception was good so we settled in and got some rest. This is where our mad rush home begins. With a couple of exceptions, our basic travel schedule from this point forward is traveling, stopping for 1 or 2 nights, and traveling again the next day.
After leaving Jordan Lake Recreation Area, our next stop was South Carolina. We traveled a shorter distance than we have to date, 175 miles. As on so many travel days before, we were blessed with beautiful weather. The skies were a beautiful blue with contrails crisscrossing from every direction. While in South Carolina, we would stay at Myrtle Beach State Park. This place was absolutely incredible! We turn off the main drag directly into the state park… woods and all. We pull through the woods and, voila! We are on the beach! Around the corner is our campground… in the woods. How versatile is that! Camping in the woods one minute, and on the beach or fishing pier the next. We decided to stay here five nights, and we’re glad we did! We took some time at this destination to get out and explore a little more. Craig was hungry for seafood, so Bubbas came recommended. I can’t say it was the best seafood dinner we’ve ever had, but we enjoyed the experience. During our stay in Myrtle Beach, we visited the pier, rode our bikes, walked the beach, and rested some more. Here, I took photos of the most beautiful sunset I think I have ever seen. I think you will agree!
Next stop… Camp Lake Jasper in Hardeeville, SC., 181 miles away. I often tell myself, “It’s the journey, not the destination.” That certainly held true here at our next stop. The park is fairly new, the landscaping up front was pretty, the place appeared to be clean, the office/laundry/etc. were nice, but the sites are nothing to write home about. Upon arrival, no one was in the office. We called the number twice, with no response. As we began to drive toward the site number in our e-mail confirmation, we saw a lady running in our direction from the laundromat. She was nice and checked us in without issue. HOWEVER, once we arrived at our site, there were a couple of, well, uh-hem… guys who were camping in a pop-up. Now, don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with pop-ups. What was so wrong is that we were put on their left-hand side which means that every time we walked out our front door they were right there! No privacy, no nothing. They might as well have been in our living room! There were many sites available to put us in for the two nights we were there, so I don’t understand why the lady in the office could not figure that out. Lack of experience, I suppose, but I didn’t think it was cool when these guys would rather relieve themselves out back at the tree line, in plain sight, than to take a stroll to the restrooms on site. Strange ducks, but life goes on! Two nights here and we were ready to get the heck outta Dodge!
Upon leaving Hardeeville, SC, we traveled 250 miles further south to Suwanee River Rendezvous River Resort in Mayo, FL. Although this is a privately-owned campground dating back to the early 1950s, a new RV park was added in 2012. While it was not the woodsy feeling we prefer, it was nice, clean, and quiet. The park was cut out of what appeared to be a pine forest, so at least we were surrounded by forest. At night, it got dark. So dark that Craig and I got to sit out in our new zero gravity loungers and enjoy the stars. Something we haven’t been able to do in many, many years. I even got to see the Milky Way which, truly, I do not believe I have ever seen before. Just beautiful and awe-inspiring!
Even though we would only be here at Suwanee River for 2 nights, that only left us with 1 day to explore. Craig wanted to visit Manatee Springs State Park and see if we could spot any manatees. First, on the way to the park, we passed a roadside stand where a very nice gentleman was selling boiled peanuts. Craig had been having a boiled peanut craving, so we stopped for peanuts. We changed seats so I could drive while he scarfed them down. I have never had boiled peanuts before, but I did try one. Like I said… one. I can’t decide if I like them or not. The jury is still out!
After stopping at Walmart to pick up a few items… and fried chicken, we mozied over to Manatee Springs. The park was absolutely beautiful! No manatees, but we got to see a fabulous natural spring that fed into the Suwanee River. We sat on a park bench and had a picnic lunch which consisted of the fried chicken we picked up on the way. Afterward, we explored the boardwalk which took us to… you guessed it… the Suwanee River. We were awestruck. There were only a handful of people in the entire park, so we were pretty much alone. We strolled down the boardwalk to the pier and pavilion. Oh, the serenity of it all. Just breathtaking! So peaceful. We wandered around, sat and contemplated the beauty of the place, and took plenty of pictures. Craig had wandered back down the pier and was leaning over the edge, just gazing into the crystal clear water. As I approached him he said very calmly, “Well, I’ll never see those sunglasses again.” WHAT???? Yep, there they were… his clip-on sunglasses in about 3’ of water. Well, crawl in and get them you say? Nope! Nowhere to crawl in. So, Craig headed back to the truck and rigged up a stick with fishing line and a hook. I stayed behind. As I was sitting under the pavilion enjoying the scenery and solitude, three kayakers come floating down the river. As they got closer the lady in front yelled out, “Is this Manatee Springs?” I replied, “What?” “Is this Manatee Springs?” I said, “Yes, it is.” She said, “Good. This is where we need to get out.” It was then that I got the braniac idea to ask her if one of them could fish Craig’s sunglasses out of the water. So, they paddled around the floating dock when, about that time, Craig returned with his fishing contraption. Craig handed his little “fishing pole” to her, she dropped the line into the water, and promptly hooked the bottom, missing his sunglasses. Luckily, she offered up her son. So, he got out of his kayak and rescued Craig’s sunglasses. What a relief that he made it out of the water without incident! After all, signs were posted all around, “CAUTION! Alligators.” Whew! I can breathe now. I would hate to think we could have been responsible for this kid getting eaten alive because of a pair of silly sunglasses. Thank you, Jesus!
In due time we introduced ourselves to these kayakers, Suzanne, and her son, Jason. Grandma Ruth was being towed by Jason as they approached the floating dock. Ruth lives on a farm in Wellborn, FL, and Suzanne and Jason were visiting her from their home in Northern Georgia. Mother, daughter, and grandson had paddled nine miles down the river that day and were more than ready to stand on dry ground.
Craig offered his assistance with getting Suzanne and Grandma Ruth out of their kayak and up on the floating pier as I snapped photos of the rescue. So now, the dilemma of getting the kayaks out of the water. How in the world were they planning on getting those heavy things out of the water, not to mention traversing the very long boardwalk and carrying them all the way to the parking lot without additional assistance? Well, that is what Craig and I were there for. Are you following me? All of the above, I believe, was Divine Intervention! A God wink, if you will. These kayakers showed up out of the clear blue to retrieve Craig’s sunglasses, and we were placed in their path to assist them with their kayaks! Suzanne took hold of the front of one kayak, Craig had a hold of the back of Suzanne’s kayak and the front of the second kayak, and Jason had the back of the second kayak. Grandma Ruth and I carried the third kayak. It was heavy, so I have to hand it to Grandma Ruth for her superior strength! She did mention, earlier, that she lives and works on a farm, so she is stronger than she looked. And she certainly proved that to be true!
After a few stops along the boardwalk to catch our breath (and change hands), we finally made it to the parking lot… just to find out that Grandma Ruth’s car had a flat. Of course, Craig offered up his services to change the flat. But… oh, no! What now? Well, there was no changing it because Grandma Ruth had left the keys to her car in Suzanne’s truck in the campground they set out from! So, we leave Grandma Ruth and Jason at the park, drove Suzanne to her truck (with Grandma Ruth’s keys in it) ten miles away, and followed Suzanne back to Manatee Springs in our truck. Suzanne said this was just as good a time as any for Jason to learn how to change a tire. (He’s sixteen.) So, upon arrival back at Manatee Springs State Park, Craig taught Jason how to change a tire. After the “thank yous” and “good-byes”, we were on our way back to Suwanee River Campground a little more than an hour away, arriving at sunset. Oh, and by the way, no manatee sightings!
After a good night’s sleep, we were on our way again. This time we traveled 205 miles to Defuniak Springs, FL. We stayed at the Sunset King Lake Resort, located on beautiful King Lake. For us, this was just a place to stay for two nights to get some rest on our journey home. I’m sure we would have enjoyed this “resort” had we stayed longer, but we had more miles to cover.
Leaving Defuniak Springs, FL, we traveled 217 miles to Bay Saint Louis, MS. It was not our intention to stay here, however. Our plans were to casino dock (spend the night in a casino parking lot) in either Gulfport or Biloxi. We made calls to a couple of casinos asking for information and permission to spend the night on their lot. We were given the ‘all clear’. Upon arrival in Biloxi we drove to the Hard Rock Casino and drove around… and around… and around. Nope. That wasn’t going to work. We had envisioned a large, clean, lighted parking lot with other overnight RVers, but what we saw was just a small, uneven dirt pad. So we kept going and headed ‘next door’ to Gulfport, MS. This time we drove around the Beau Rivage Casino. Second verse, same as the first. No go! We decided to just keep driving until it started to get late. Shortly before sunset, we settled in at Bay Hide Away RV Park. Things like this happen when there’s a lack of planning. We are too new at this and a lack of planning makes us nervous. With time, we hope to get better.
In Bay Saint Louis we stayed at the Bay Hide Away. It is a small RV park and the online reviews had warned about narrow roads within the park. Well, I had forgotten the reviews until inside the park. The roads were narrow and on the second corner, I heard a noise and hit the brake. Even though I had swung out wide, I looked in my side mirror to see that I had stopped just in time. I was a short 4” from raking the side of our rig against “that tree” that the reviewers had warned about. One more time… THANK YOU JESUS! I was able to avoid the damage, and the pain!
While parking, the overhead tree limbs were too low for comfort. While the low-lying limbs should have been trimmed by the owners/management, we were handed some loppers instead. Oh, well, it’s our home and we want to protect it, so Craig climbed up on the roof and chopped everything he could get the loppers on. Good save, sweetheart!
After getting set up, we headed about 5 miles down the road to the Silver Slipper Casino on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. It was a small, but nice, casino. We went in and played for a short while. As usual, I dropped $50 in the slots, and Craig won most of it back at the craps table. We left only $7 down… less than half a movie ticket. WINNER! Afterward, we headed to “downtown” Bay Saint Louis, a quaint little town. We ended up having dinner at The Blind Tiger where we shared a shrimp/sausage/corn/potato dinner, and a cold one, to boot! We dined outside on the patio overlooking the marina. The weather was pleasant, the food fabulous, and we enjoyed a wonderful dinner together after another long day. Nice!
After two nights in Bay Saint Louis, we continued heading west, now, to Kinder, LA. We stayed at the Red Shoes RV Park at Coushatta Casino. This wasn’t casino docking, but a regular RV park. Well, it was better than “regular”. It was very nice, clean, spacious, and convenient to the casino. And, besides, Craig has wanted to meet his Aunt JoAnn there for years. Aunt JoAnn occasionally takes overnight trips on those casino buses and the timing was just perfect! Once we arrived at the RV park, we hurriedly got set up and headed over to the casino. Aunt JoAnn’s bus was due to arrive around 2:30P. It was about that time as we walked up the sidewalk next to a few buses that had just arrived. I said, “Wouldn’t that be something if Aunt JoAnn was on that bus.” Lo and behold, Aunt JoAnn was on that bus. We most definitely surprised her. She traveled with her long-time friend, Mona. We enjoyed meeting Mona, visiting, and having dinner together. The next day, we were sure to feed them lunch before boarding the bus for home. It would be a long day for them and we didn’t want them to go hungry, for cryin’ out loud! Good to see you, again, Aunt JoAnn!
After leaving Kinder, LA, Livingston, TX was within sight! A few short hours and 150 miles later, we have arrived. We were hoping to return “home” sooner, but we had no idea the snowbirds would be scattered from the Valley all the way up here. There are no campgrounds that meet our criteria or have availability, so here we are. We will be here until December 3 when we really head “home”. We will be staying in a new RV park that hasn’t opened, yet, so here we stay, waiting to begin the last leg of our journey to be home for the holidays.
Finally, on Sunday we attended church services at Lake on the Church where our friends, Dinah and Alton, attend. We enjoy attending services whenever we can. This particular Sunday, two individuals from this church were baptized in Lake Livingston! That was so cool. Two more souls preparing for the Kingdom! God bless them!!
Going forward, we will not be doing much traveling so my posts may be limited. I will be in touch from time-to-time, and I hope you will be, too!
Until next time…