Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Late Start, Dark, and Rain

February 17, 2008
We had a wonderful time with Lois and Howie! In fact, we rate this “campsite” a full 5 stars, even though the site wasn’t quite level (we parked in front of their house). The amenities were stellar, however: the food (Ducky’s Vietnamese restaurant for dinner); the bathroom (newly renovated spa-style, with a shower as large as our entire bathroom at home); and the dog “run” (a huge fenced in back yard for Roxy.) Plus the campground hosts were warm and friendly. We probably should have spent the entire week there, but we will see them again in 2 weeks in Nashville, for Ben and Miriam’s wedding. At minimum, however, we maybe should have spent a second night there, instead of leaving Sunday afternoon.

We dragged ourselves away at 3:30 pm, and headed south in I-85 toward Atlanta. Our ultimate destination is theoretically the Florida Panhandle, where we hear there are some beautiful state parks. But in truth, we’re not 100% sure where we will end up. I did check the maps before leaving Greensboro, though, and thought we might aim for one of the SC state parks for the night. It was kind of late to leave, as it turned out.

We stopped at Walmart to pick up a few food items, and then decided to go to Kings Mountain State Park near Blacksburg, SC, just over the border from NC. It was already dark, but we had our DeLorme to guide us. According to the AAA campbook, there were 116 RV sites there, and it is open all year. Evidently, though, the state of South Carolina didn’t read the AAA campbook. We did find the park without trouble, but “open”? “Campgrounds”??? We saw NO sign of any camping at all, other than a few roads which had chains across them. The park office was of course closed (it was 8 PM on Sunday night), with no mention at all of self-check-in or any other information whatsoever posted on the outside. We searched with flashlights, trying to find any place that looked hospitable, but it was seriously dark and out of the way. Joe declared it “creepy”, and we headed back to the Interstate again (via a different road which took us back through NC yet again) and picked up I-85 south in North Carolina for the second time.

As we reached the highway, the rain began to pour down in buckets. We were already quite tired, it was about 9 pm, and all we wanted was to stop driving. So we did—at the first SC rest area/information center just over the border (we’d passed it earlier and stopped in it briefly to check our maps before continuing on.) And that is where we spent the night. It could have been quieter—we were in the truck/RV section, and 18-wheelers pulled in and out next to us all night. We are unusually sound sleepers, however, and none of them bothered us, except for one. That one caused Roxy to begin barking, and when I peeked out to see if there was a problem, it turned out the truck was full of live chickens. OY!!!!!!! Always an adventure. But no one bothered us otherwise, and we were happy to get going early in the morning.

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