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Ocean Isles Beach NC – Visit Friends

June 7 - 10: 

This will be a very short post.  The reason this post will be short is that Patty got sick while we were in NC and didn’t venture out of the RV most of the time we were there.  She has bouts of depression that completely overcome her and she just can’t get out of bed.  She also somehow got an abscess under her tongue which didn’t help either!

We left the Myrtle Beach State Park on Wednesday and traveled to our friends Mike and Dale's house in Ocean Isles Beach NC.  We are staying in their yard with the use of their water and just a 20 amp circuit for electricity. They had a “good and clean” 20 amp circuit, meaning a circuit with just us on it and a breaker that actually holds 20 amps.  With the 20 amps, we had use of our LED lights and the smaller of the two air conditioning units.  To help with the electrical load, we switched over the fridge and hot water to propane.  It was fine for the days we were there.  We had just one hiccup at first when we turned on a set of halogen lights and tripped the breaker.  We learned our lesson so that didn’t happen again!


Our 5th wheel in Mike and Dale's yard.

I took this picture from the back of Mike and Dale's large back yard.

We had plans to tour the area with our resident tour guides but instead I hung out at the pool and Patty in bed.
Mike and Dale made the most of it and were good hosts even though it was a let down from what we had planned to do while there.  I got some pool time and I had some really good food Dale prepared for me.


This is where I spent most of my time here.  I really have it rough!

Our first morning, Wednesday the 9th, before Patty was completely out of it, we had breakfast at one of the finest cafes in the area, Big Nell's Pit Stop.  When I go out for a meal I usually have something that I can’t or is not easy to make myself.  So, since it was breakfast, I had a pecan waffle.  I was not disappointed in the least as that was one of the finest waffles I have ever eaten!  Mike and Dale are regulars here so the cook came out to talk with us so I thanked her for my perfect waffle.  She told me that her secret was to put lemonade in the batter, hmmmmm…..


Big Nell's sign at the road.

Big Nell's Pit Sop with (l-r) Mike, Dale, and Patty

Not much else to tell in this post sorry to say.  We left on Friday the 10th to head back to Jacksonville for round 2 at the Mayo Clinic.  

Many, many thanks to Mike and Dale for the southern hospitality they offered to us despite the less than exciting company we offered in return! 



Stay Tuned!

Savannah Georgia

May 26 – June 3, 2016

A little bit farther north we go to Savannah Georgia.  This was another very short travel day of about 88 miles to the Biltmore RV Park in Savannah.  This trip was just about as easy as a trip can get and the weather helped too being beautiful and hot at around 95!


On the way into Savannah we passed this and I thought it was interesting.  It is a sign for a farmers market.

The Biltmore RV Park has pretty bad reviews on-line so we were just a bit worried about the place.  The reviews basically trashed the 2 women owners of the place.  The owners are a mother-daughter team.  The daughter is probably about our age around 60 with the mother then somewhere around 80.


Nothing makes you feel more at home that razor wire!
The reviews, in summary, said that the two women were rude and just not nice people. We were willing to judge for ourselves as the rates for Biltmore were far lower than the surrounding competing campgrounds.  And, to top it off, the Biltmore is only 8 miles to the old downtown area or about 15 minutes!

The bottom line here is that we didn’t heed the reviews.  The Biltmore is a great place and as far we can tell doesn’t deserve the bad reviews.  The only thing that would make it better for us would have been WIFI.  The women treated us very well and were very helpful in telling us all about the Savannah area.  I could detect a sense that they are conservative and are apprehensive about who is staying in their park.  Not sure why they are that way but as long as you treat them with respect all is cool with them.

After we got the half an hour scoop on the area, “mom” walked us to our site telling us to come back to the office after we were set up to pay.  OK, mom isn’t very good at showing RVers their sites.  Our site was the second back-in from the border fence of the RV Park.  When mom finally got to the site we were sort of “fenced” in when it comes to backing into the site.  Basically, I needed to turn around and back-in from the other direction.  They gave us a nice site because they told us that they weren’t going to put anybody on the fence side of our site.  So we basically had 2 sites all to ourselves!  We think that they liked us too!


Our large double site!

We are going to be here for a week so we were not in any real hurry to get out and sightsee.  We had a horse carriage tour of the old part of Savannah for 2:30 the next day, Friday. I bought the tour through the internet site Living Social about a month ago but made the reservation after we arrived.  We thought that having a tour would show us the lay of the land so we could figure out what we wanted to see and do later in the week.

We made our way into town on Friday afternoon looking for a parking place which seems to be pretty hard to find.  After we spent $20 on a parking space we learned later that the city has parking areas around the city for much less.  In fact, the next time we were in the city we only spent $8 for 4 hours. To be fair, the $20 place was for the entire day or until midnight, but you had to purchase the entire day.  The city parking lots allowed you purchase by the hour at $2 each hour.   Little information makes things so much easier sometimes!

The horse and buggy ride through the city was very nice and we learned a lot.  The nice thing about this sort of tour is that it is very intimate; you get more personal information from the guide.  The buggy held probably 3 couples but we were the only ones on this tour.  Not only did we learn a little about the city we learned some about the people as well.


Our buggy tour guide liked to talk about himself a lot but he managed to get in some sights too! 



There are many of these little parks through out the town.


It's the Tomochichi rock!  Seems the politicians of the day covered up one of the Indian graves  who helped settle the area.  So the tribe sent this rock later to commemorate the man.  The rock is from Stone Mountain Georgia.

It was about 4 when the buggy tour ended and we had until midnight where the truck was parked so we walked River Street.   River Street was just run down old cotton storage houses and the like until just few years ago.  The city decided to turn the area into a tourist entertainment area.  So the old buildings now house restaurants, bars and shops.  They really did a nice job with this area.  It has a safe clean feel with the old seafaring view.  Very nicely done!


To get from the populated part of Savannah the use of these stairs is needed.  Travel these at your own risk!  Uneven and they have varying tread heights.



Our planning and refreshment stop.

Local brew, it was good!
Large container ship passing on the Savannah River.

Patty shopping!


Back side of River Street.

We walked the tourist area up and down River Street.  We stopped at one point and had a light snack and a beer. While having the refreshments we decided to go on a dinner cruise on the Savannah River. Since we had paid for the day parking we might as well get our money's worth, right?

The dinner cruise turned out nice and the food was some of the best we have had on these city cruises.  The cruise took us inland for a few miles and then back past our starting point toward the ocean for a few miles.  We had some great views as well as pictures of the sun setting over South Carolina. We also saw many huge container ships coming and going on the river.  This river is definably still a major seaport!  We were told that one of the container ships that passed us was over 11 hundred feet long!  That is a huge ship!


Our dinner cruise boat.


On board.


The famous Talmadge Bridge over the Savannah River.

Sunset over South Carolina

Our dinner cruise boat after we got off for the night.

Saturday we decided to take a traditional hop on hop off trolley tour of the city.  We learned some time ago that taking tours are so much better than just wandering around without knowing what you are looking at.  


Some sights from the hop on hop off tour.  Servants stayed on the bottom floor
so the main entry was on the second floor.

Cool rain gutter drain spouts!

This was the first Ford car dealer in Savannah.

Farmers market in Savannah

Plant your own mushrooms from a bag!

Very nice gesture!

Oldest house in savannah.

Statue of a woman who for most of her life waved at all of the ships
who came into and left Savannah.

After the tour we went to a musical at one of the old theaters in town.  The musical was one of those that were made for us tourists.  It was presented and produced with local talent and had bits and pieces of the music from the area.  The show was good but wasn’t our sort of thing.  Like anything else, it was a minute in time and something we will remember so it was worth it in the end.

Sunday we decided to hit the local beach that Savannah locals use.  The local beach is called Tybee Island. Tybee Island is located about 15 miles to the east of Savannah.  It really doesn’t seem like an island in the sense that we are accustomed to.  The so called islands here are separated from the coastline by marsh lands.  When you look at a map Tybee Island doesn’t look like an island because it is not surrounded by water. Tybee has the Atlantic Ocean on one side and 4-5 miles of marsh on the other side.



Looking north up the beach on Tybee Island

Pier into the Atlantic Ocean on Tybee Island

On the pier loads of people fish.  You can rent the gear right there on the pier.

Patty shopping on Tybee Island

Out for dinner on Tybee Island


The height of hurricane surges on Tybee Island.

Tybee Island is like most beach recreation areas with the many beach surf shops, restaurants, and bars.  The sand here is hard packed like Daytona in Florida so walking out to the water is pretty easy.  Also there really isn’t a sharp drop at the edge of the water so the tide comes and goes over a large area.  It also makes it very easy to get into the water for kids.  We hung out for a couple hours just watching people and the water.  We then had some lunch and headed back to our RV for the day.

Monday we had some rain so we just hung out at the RV. We finished the last blog post and went to the nearby Walmart parking lot so we could upload it.  We don’t have WIFI at our site so we are careful using our data.  So uploading a large file like our picture laden posts just wasn’t happening on our data plan.  We get a spot close to the building and sign on the Walmart WIFI.  This Walmart even has WIFI antennas on the outside of the building.  Maybe they all have outside antennas I just haven’t noticed, now I’m going to look and see if they do.

We really did like Tybee beach so we went back again on Tuesday for a few hours. 

Wednesday we played golf at a local course.  Golf is really pretty cheap here in the southeast.  We spent just $28 dollars for the 2 of us with a cart!  This course was a pretty standard length of around 6600 yards but a lot of the holes were pretty far apart making it not good for walking the course.  I managed to shoot my usual of a 105; not bad for a first time on a course I thought.  Weird though, I shoot the same if I have played a course for a while or for the first time, what is up with that?


Henderson Public Golf course.

Patty teeing off


Weird mushroom we found on the course.

Thursday we headed for Myrtle Beach and the Myrtle Beach State Park for a few days.  We are going to visit with a few friends there before heading back to Jacksonville Florida.

Stay Tuned!

Jekyll Island Georgia

May 23 – 26, 2016: 

What a crazy name, Jekyll Island!  I just had to look it up to find out why the name of Jekyll.  It’s not real interesting but the name comes from Sir Joseph Jekyll who was a friend of James Oglethorpe. Oglethorpe was the guy who started the Georgia Colony in the early 1700s.  OK, the history lesson is over now!


The Sidney Lanier Bridge connecting Brunswick GA to Jekyll Island.

Patty found Jekyll Island on one of the Facebook RV pages last year while we were just beginning the process of planning our 2016 travel up the East Coast.  We heard all very good stuff about the island and the campground.  We can now say that the campground is one of the best we have stayed at!  The island is also a great place to spend some time.  It was a great five days here!

Jekyll Island is an island just off the coast of South Georgia and is around half way between Savannah GA to the north and Jacksonville FL to the south.  The island is also part of the Georgia state park system.  The campground is located on the north end of the island about 5 miles from the entrance of the park.  The campground has 175 campsites and can handle a large rig like we have at 40 foot or more. Our cost was only $40 a night for full hookups, pull through and great Wi-Fi.  That really is a deal for this campground! 

Coming into the park on Jekyll Island you need to pay a daily entrance fee.  The signs/instructions at the gate are not very clear.  I couldn’t make heads or tails out of the instructions on the electronic gate system.  The park had a couple of people helping people manage the system to get in.  This electronic gate handles a lot of things, making the instructions difficult to follow.  


Entrance to Jekyll Island

First, there is a daily rate of $6 that can be increased depending on the number of days you will be using the gate, not how many days you are on the island - confusing!  Then there is the issue of payment.  There is a slot for a credit card, cash, and one for your entrance card all with instructions.  Along with that stuff there is also a swipe surface for reading some other type pass and, yeah, another set of instructions.  Anyway, sitting there with a 40 foot 5th wheel on my rear and hanging out the door of our F-450 with a line of other vehicles behind you, this system was very intimidating to say the least!

We got through that obstacle with just paying the $6 entrance fee for one day with a credit card.  We didn’t ask how the weekly pass worked as we wanted to scope out the land before we decided how often we might be leaving the park. We did go off the island just after setting up to get a few things just to be sure we didn't need to go out later, and didn’t leave again.

The next hurdle was getting to the campground.  Our GPS system was giving us directions but I wasn’t too sure about them.  Also, the signs in the park are not the best and our GPS wasn't agreeing.  It’s not that the signs are wrong; it’s that they are somewhat busy and not always logical for an outside person like us.  You travel along watching the signs for campground and then see one showing campground with an arrow for straight ahead, all fine so far.  Then the next few signs show other stuff with arrows.  By the time you are wondering if you missed the sign, a sign appears telling you that we need to turn right now! Turning right away is not always convenient when you are a vehicle with tow of 55 feet! It’s all very doable, just need to keep on your toes!  We learned that if you follow the GPS you will be fine getting to the campground.  No worries!


One of the easier to read signs to the campground.



The campground reminds me of the campground that Disney’s Camp Wilderness may have been designed from.  It is one of the nicest real campgrounds we have been in.  The entire campground is full of tall pines and live oak trees making for a complete canopy of limbs with loads of Spanish moss overhead.  In fact, we had to use our interior lights in the middle of the day to see inside of the RV!  The campground sites are a layer of dirt with leaves on top and are a good size. We didn’t have any trouble getting into our pull through as there was just enough room between the trees.  We didn’t even need to maneuver around to get a better position, right the first time!


This is a view from our truck.  It looked to me like a locomotive was parked in the back of the campground.  Well, being a railroader, it looked like it to me!

Our site in the Jekyll Island Campground.

We didn’t do everything there is to do on the island but we did a lot in 5 days.  We feel that 2 weeks would be needed to take full advantage of all there is to do here.  One of the great things about the campground is that you can bike to most everything on the island.  However, we chose to use our truck for most stuff because we only have 5 days and wanted to move quicker.  


One of the houses in the historic district on the island.

The island has over 20 miles of bike trails.

My favorite pictures on the island are from here, Driftwood Beach.

Driftwood Beach

Driftwood Beach and my favorite picture.

The new Westin hotel and shopping area.  This was just opened last November 2015.
Entrance to Great Dunes Beach

The Westin from Great Dunes Beach.


Mark expressing himself!

Nice miniature golf course on the island



One of the best things for us was the golfing here.  I know we were here at a slower time just before the big summer season and just before Memorial Day weekend, but we never expected to have such great access to the golf courses!  I called the course up and asked if we could get on this week thinking there was no way.  I was told I could have most any day and time!  We went out on Wednesday morning at 9am and had no one close in front or behind us.  It was like we had the course all to ourselves!




Momma deer and her fawn on the golf course

Patty has a great swing!

We played the Indian Mound course and it was an absolutely fabulous course!  I still played my usual crappy game but I did it on a country club type course.  On a course like this I’m always thinking someone is going to see me play and make me get off of it!


Another picture of the golf course. It was a nice course and
just the right amount of challenge to it, for us anyway!

I decided one morning to ride my bike as one of my daily workouts.  I hadn't done that in a very long time.  I left the campsite early to avoid the midday heat at around 9am.  I was really getting into the ride and decided not to stop peddling by adjusting the gears as i went.  At the 3 mile mark I adjusted the gears down to a very low setting and all of a sudden the rear wheel locked up.  I was going pretty slow so I wasn't concerned that I was going to fall off.  It was a little scary though as it happened!  


Mark's 4 year old mountain bike with the numbing handlebars just after the derailer failure.

It's hard to see here but the sprocket on the derailler broke in half after getting jammed into the spokes of the rear wheel.  I believe this happened because it got bent laying on it's side in the back of the truck.

I've had the bike since we started full time RVing 4 years ago.  I did a little pricing on the rear derailers and I now think that a new bike is in order.  I don't buy expensive bikes as we are pretty hard on them, they ride in the back of the truck. This time I am going to look at more of a cruiser type bike with the handlebars in an upward position so I can sit up. The current bike is a mountain bike with the handlebars in a position that makes my hands numb after a few miles. Selection of a new bike will be sometime in a future blog post.

While we are at it, we do have one negative about the campground.  We wanted to play pickleball on their court but there wasn’t a net.  We have our own balls and paddles to play; we just need the net.  They advertise pickleball courts, so when we asked about the net at the office we were told that there was a $5 fee for the net! What!! So we didn’t play pickleball.  It was the principle that they were making you pay for the use of the net that pissed us off.  If the money was just a holding fee that would have been fine, but a fee to use the net, come on!

We were on the island for just 5 days, which was enough to get a real feel for the place but just wasn’t long enough to relax more. 

We are off to Savannah for 8 days including Memorial Day weekend.

Stay tuned!