Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Another southern town

Leaving Charleston it was a short trip to Savannah Ga. This trip along the southeast coast was an eye opener for us, as this was the first time we had been this far east. The coastal swamps and marshes were surprising along with all the water we passed over by the many bridges. We followed US 12 as far as we could and then US 17. Everything on this trip seemed a lot closer, as our trip last winter covered TX and AZ. Charleston and Savannah are very close together and when you look at a map Savannah is about as far northeast in Georgia as you can get.Savannah and Charleston, along with many other southern coastal towns were founded by the shipowner merchants. They made their first fortunes shipping goods and slaves from overseas. This was hard work so they then went on to become plantation owners as this was seen as a step up and they could sort of retire and show off their wealth. Savannah is more of a coastal town with a water front that has many old cotton warehouses with cobblestone streets and foundations that have been turned into shops and restaurants and other unique places. Charleston was built in the old tradition of getting as much as possible in as little space where Savannah's historic district has 22 squares with many statues honoring the city's founders. Both have many beautiful old houses with many of them open as museums and showplaces.
The next day we took a trip out to Tybee Island to visit the lighthouse there. The lighthouse and most of the area was developed by the gov't--- first as a lighthouse in 1736 (At 90ft--the tallest building in America ) and lifesaving station and then as Fort Screven for the protection of Savannah. With over 400 yrs of history it is a unique place.The fort and lighthouse was used as training grounds until after WWII and in 1947 sold the the community of Tybee. The area was built also as an escape for the residents of Savannah from the summer heat and became summer residences for many. Access to the area was difficult and a railroad was for many years the only way . There was also a big amusement park that still operated in the 1980's. On the way back we stopped at the Crab Shack, a local oddity restaurant that was recommended by a guy at the Ga welcome center.. we found it a fun place with good food.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Southern Towns

After our ferry rides we headed towards Morehead City and a campground. Not finding a campground there we headed on towards a campground in New Bern listed in the PA book. The person on the phone gave us different directions and addresses than what Passport America gave in the book. Our trusty GPS did not like either of them so we tried the directions given us by the man on the phone. At this point in time it is dark and downpouring rain. We came to a dead end in a residential section...... no campground!!!! Now the challenge was to turn the rig around with little lighting, less space, lots of downpouring rain and ( thank GOD) little traffic at that time of night. After much manuvering and frustration we headed back where we had just come from. We went according to the book and stumbled across a KOA. We found a spot, did the after-hours check-in and landed for the next two days. They received 5-11 inches of rain in the 2 days we were there...the aftermath of the hurricane. We burrowed in and did NOTHING. Even Grizz was content to do his duty outside quickly and get back inside to dry quarters.
We left there after two WET days and headed towards Charleston S.C. On this trip we have had several people photograph our arrival and we have caught their picturetaking with our own picture. In Plymouth N.C. the local cop stopped as we were making a u-turn and got his camera from the back of the cruiser and began snapping pics. We stopped and he came over and welcomed us to his town and talked about the truck in the middle of the street for about 10 min. We found a brand new campground near N. Myrtle Beach, S.C. on the Passport America website. Here again as we arrived a guy video taped our arrival. We seem to cause stir when we arrive. The Carroll Woods campground had a very nice bathhouse, nice country setting and friendly, helpful hosts. There was wine-tasting on site hosted by the "Grapeful Sisters". The weather had turned to a cold, light mist and since we don't like driving in the rain we stayed for two days. Still not our idea of nice sight-seeing weather so we did some laundry and read hoping the weather would clear.
We left there on Saturday on dry roads amid sunny skies and traveled towards Charleston, S.C. driving thru N. Mytle Beach and stopping for lunch. We bypassed Myrtle Beach as we figured it would be more of the same...T-shirt shops and golf resorts. We arrived at Lake Aire RV Park, Hollywood, S.C. just ouside Charleston early in the afternoon. Sunday we decided to take a mule drawn carriage ride in Charleston. It really is a way to see the sights and hear some tales about the city. Charleston is a city that has had many earthquakes (200 since 1970)and we saw how they repaired the houses in the 1800's that were damaged. After hearing which mansions were on the "to do" list, we walked back to the Calhoun house for a guided tour. It is called "the oh my God house" because those are the first words out of everyones mouth. It is a 24,000 sq ft house built 1n the 1870's still used as a single family home and opened for tours every day. The rooms are so filled with rare antiques and collectibles. A lot of the house has been restored to the original interior. It is just one of several House museums that are open for tours.  Charleston has a law ( passed in 1931 )that if the house/building is 75 years old you cannot tear it can remodel the interior but the outside must remain original. So there are plenty of beautiful old homes there. They are not all mansions but many,many neat old houses,some dating back to the 1700's. This is one of the cities that we would like to return to for further exploring.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lighthouse ~ Ferries ~ Spaceship

Since the forecast was for 3-4 days of rain we decided to head to the main land. We left Ocean Wave campground headed towards the ferry. On our way we stopped at the Hatteras Lighthouse-- the tallest brick lighthouse in the country at 208 ft. We couldn't climb it because it was closed for the winter.. boo hoo. In 1999 they moved it almost a 1/2 mile away from shore because erosion threatened to take it. That must have been some sight to watch.
While crossing on the ferry from Hatteras to Ocracoke, we met a fun couple from PA, Kathy and Stu. They told us to watch on our way to the next ferry for the pen where they have the ponies fenced in to keep them off the roads. Apparently the wild horses are a danger to drivers on the island like the deer are in Michigan. We did see the pen but the ponies were too far away to get a picture. We got to the second ferry, the 2 and a half hour ride from Ocracoke Island across to Cedar Island. During one of the ferry rides Kathy mentioned that she had gotten a pictue of the spaceship along hwy 12. Well, Bob saw it but of course I missed seeing it. So Kathy sent it via email. I mentioned it to my friend Arlene( during a scrabble move via internet). Arlene is the source of a lot of research being done. If ever in doubt about something I email Arlene. The blessing is that not only does she do a lot of research, when asked she is willing to share it. So we will include Kathy's picture and a place to find out more. Arlene did say it was a restaurant at one time and was a Futuro House by Matti Surronen...supposedly built in Pennsylvania in the late 60's. So if you google that and google space ship on outer banks you should be able to get the scoop.
After leaving the second ferry it was getting into late afternoon. We started watching for campgrounds. They are not highly advertised by bill boards here. We drove by a couple before we saw them. There was one listed in Passport America, even with entering the coordinates the GPS sent us on a wild goose chase..the gps showed our trip on the water but couldn't get us to the modern technology. Finally in the dark and rain, we found a KOA. Advertised 2 miles in advance and a sign lit up telling us we had found it. YES!!! We were ready for a nice quiet night of sleep. Since it is raining we opted to stay another day. Not fun sight-seeing in the rain.

NC Truck Show

Sat. Nov 7 the ltlgrntruck made it to the ATHS chapter show in Colfax North Carolina. It was a beautiful day-- sunny & about 70 degrees. There were around 100 trucks of all kinds there-- some that I have never seen, just read about. We open the trailer and got out the guest book. We try to do this at shows, but with so many people we cannot keep up. this show we have over 200 names in the book and missed many. It's fun talking to all these people. We decided after talking to lots that we would go to the Outer Banks and travel south on US-12.
We arrived on Roanoke Island Sunday after spending the night in the trailer in a motel parking lot. It was late and dark so we decided to get a motel as the only 2 campgrounds there were full??? Went to a motel and the clerk said the didn't take pets, she tried to find another place but, no luck other than a $35 pet charge,ha,ha... no way. finally she looked at us and didn't hear this from me but, if you back in that corner you can sleep in your trailer, couldn't believe it but thats what we did. Got up at sunrise and headed on our way east. We arrived on the island during the middle of a marathon, what confusion..two roads and one blocked off, fun, fun. Spent about an hour in the welcome center talking about the area and..guess what else!!) and waiting for traffic to clear. One Campground there so we went and what a neat spot. Only a 1 1/2 years old ,very nice== called The Refuge== the manager said that it is very quiet even during tourist summer.Left Mon. started our tour driving to the North Beaches and Currituck Lighthouse.I climbed to the top while Jan stayed with Grizzly and entertained all the dog lovers. Lots of history, left for the south looking for lunch and found a lot of the places closed for the season. We ate and headed for Bodie Island lighthouse in The Hatteras National Seashore. Then on south to a little town named Rodanthe and a campground named Ocean Waves where we dipped our toes in a cold Atlantic ocean.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Arrived in North Carolina

We left Nashville County RV Park Tuesday morning. Going thru the hills towards Cookeville, TN the truck started losing water pressure and began to heat up. We went to the first truck stop we saw. After checking it out, Bob talked to the service department and they sent us 2 miles back to an International/ Cumings truck repair. They needed the vin# off the motor which was removed by the military before we bought it. After MUCH frantic searching Bob found the certificate from the government to use to apply for a title. YES!!! Jim, from the service center called Cumings with the #. Good, but not good enough. They needed the # off the back of the water pump. The only way to do that was to land at a RV park that would allow us to work on the truck. We headed back 6 more miles to Twinlakes and Catfish Pond RV Park. Bob proceeded to take the waterpump off the truck. Guessing it was the original pump because it had bonded with the motor and did NOT want to leave it! After trying various procedures it finally came apart. Finding several different series of #s on the part, Bob called them in to Jim. Jim called Cumings and called back with the news that those #s worked, Cumings was shipping the part, Jim would have someone deliver it to us in the morning. We received the new waterpump by 11am. Bob had it on the truck and we were on the road again by 1pm.
We were traveling along with a "new noise". Trying to figure out the noise, going down some of the larger hills, Bob noticed the air pressure was dropping, had gone from 120 to 90 and kind of holding there. BUT this was NOT good! We have AIR brakes!! At the bottom of the large hills was a truck stop with a service area. We pulled in there and Bob proceeded to check it out. He found the problem, got a new hose and connectors and within an hour or so we were on the road again. Thanking the good Lord for keeping us safe and putting those truck stops where we needed them.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


We arrived at the Nashville Country RV Park in Goodlettsville, TN Saturday Oct. 31. We spent Sunday afternoon exploring the antique shops in downtown Nashville. The only thing we managed to find was a framed picture (from an old calendar) of a 1909 WHITE steam car. President William Taft chose this automobile as the first official automobile of the president of the United States. Learn something all the time!!!
Monday we did something we have never done before. We did a bus tour ----of Historic Downtown Nashville, Fort Nashborough, State Capitol, Bicentennial Mall, Music Row, Studio B,and Vanderbilt University.
Then we were given time to go on self guided tours at the New Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, could have spent hours there. From there we went to the Ryman Auditorium, the "Mother Church of Country Music" for another self guided tour. The last stop was at the Legends Corner on Honky Tonk Row for a drink and live music. It was well worth the investment to us since we were dealing with limited time. No hassles with trying to find a parking place or trying to find the right streets.
Our driver on the trip back to the campground was a lady our age and she told us of her experiences as a singer in Nashville. The glamour and glitz of the stars achievements in the music business is not all that glamourous when you hear stories from an insider. Tusday was another sunny day-- two in a row I think for the first time since we left Michigan---and we headed for North Carolina for an ATHS truck show on Sat. where they predicted sunny weather all week..