Notes and Photos to and from Myrtle Beach 2017 | Myrtle Beach

Atlanta Typical I-20 trafficTrip with family to Myrtle Beach SC from Arab, Alabama was fun, but every trip we take has some “adventure” to it as well.

(1) Getting through Atlanta is always a challenge no matter what vehicle you are driving.  But add 41 ft + a tow car is even more “adventurous”.

(2) Who Knew there are TWO Myrtle Beaches in South Carolina.  North Myrtle Beach and Myrtle Beach.  Both have a 5th Ave, but only one of those 5th Ave addresses has a KOA…  Turning around in a small store parking lot was not for the faint of heart.

(3) Diesel Pumps at car fuel stations is not designed for 41 ft with a tow car.

We left on a Monday night after work in hopes of getting through Atlanta after “rush hour”.   At 10:00 pm, we were successful in that only about a million cars were on the road with us, which is low volume for Atlanta.  We stopped 1/2 way at a Pilot / Flying J and had most of the parking spaces to ourselves.   It was close to 11:00 pm when we arrived at the Pilot to sleep for a while.  We slept well, and got up around 5:00 am to eat at the restaurant and get on the road again.

Arrived at Myrtle Beach KOAThere was confusion in the address I told my wife and she was navigating with our cell phone using Google maps.  It successfully got us to 5th Ave North Myrtle Beach.   Which is not the same as 5th Ave North Myrtle Beach !   What ???    It depends on where you put the comma.  Before North, or after North.   Anyway, we called the KOA number and the nice lady was very patient with us and obviously knew every landmark in both Myrtle Beaches.   She even said “you wouldn’t believe how many times this happens”  ;-)  made me feel some better.

Pirate Adventure Dinner and Show

We got to the correct address and checked in at the KOA.  got hooked up, and went our to see the sites with our kids and grand-kids.  Which was well worth all the excitement of the drive.  We ate at some wonderful places, but the most memorable was the Pirates Voyage Dinner and Show.  The food was good but wasn’t the best part of the evening.  Our grand-kids normally are good for about 30 seconds of quiet time during a meal, like most 2 and 3 year olds.  However, at this show they didn’t move a muscle for about 2 hours.   The show was very good with talented young folks singing, gymnastics, animal tricks, and diving and swimming with lots of animatronics and special effects.

We also rode a sea pontoon boat out to an unpopulated island where the kids found a bunch of nice large shells and sand dollars in tact.  The boat didn’t have a way to depart without stepping into the water for a few steps to reach the beach.  It was a nice sunny day for a boat ride, but a bit cool for getting wet.  But the kids had a blast.

On the boat ride we also saw a large school of dolphins swimming and jumping in and out of the water.  We got a few good shots, but was really hard to do since by the time someone sees them and points it out, they are back in the water.

Before we left the fun filled and packed full of fun adventure to head home, we rode the Sky Wheel, Dolphin Tour ocean cruise, Pirates Voyage Dinner and Show, Boardwalk Shopping (Including build-a-car),  Zoo,  Aquarium,  Beach photos, Several Playgrounds for grand-kids energy burn-off,  ate at Italian Amici’s, Mexican Abuelo’s,  Captain George’s Seafood buffet, Wahlburgers, and Sweet Carolina’s BBQ.

For my camping friends, it took us 10 hours of steering wheel time (not counting rest stops)  which is 20% longer than Goggle Maps predicted.  We Spent the first night at a Flying J on Generator and had the place to ourselves pretty much.   When driving back we had the entire trip in one day so we took our time, and stopped for several breaks, dreading the return through Atlanta in mid day Saturday traffic, but it ended up being slow and painful due to road construction.  KOA at Myrtle Beach was nice, but had construction going on with bull-dozers, and back-hoe running all day with beeping backup-warnings making naps less enjoyable, but that will be temporary so I won’t hold that against them for a return trip.   It was easy to get to and convenient to everything.

When driving I ALWAYS try to maintain a football field distance from the vehicle in front of me.   I also use the lines as a guide, looking at them far away brings them closer together and it seems to keep me straighter and prevents drifting left and right.  I do use my backup camera just as a reference to what is directly behind me even though I read that some states have a law against that for some reason.  I fully depend on my side mirrors as to what is coming around me on either side.  I used an empty parking lot and had my wife walk to key points on my left and right and down below so I could adjust my mirrors to reduce blind spots as much as possible.

We are sharing a few photos from our trip showing our KOA campground setup,  parking lot camping at Flying J, and a lot of Myrtle Beach things to do, and our grand-kids ( which was the highlight of our trip ).

 

 

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Long Distance Wifi design and review | WIFI

To all my RVing friends who depend on wifi:

My wife and I depend on wifi for many reasons.  TV, Roku, browsing, updating this blog, planning my next trip, checking emails, keeping up with family using skype, and more.  For those of us that have this dependency on wifi, I found a design for long range extended wifi reception.   This solution is GREAT as long as the campground provides stable, unfiltered access to their internet service provider.  My experiences have pulled in wifi connection from a home quality linksys WAP that was located in the club-house that was at least 1/2 mile away.   For less than $200 bucks from Amazon for all the components, and a little bit of setup time – IT WORKS !

I can tell you from experience that several campgrounds across the country “offer” wifi, but they use content filtering or bandwidth limiting per connection.  In those cases this design will not work around the limitations.   We are still dependent on the connection quality to their internet provider and their firewall restrictions that my block NETFLIX, YOUTUBE, HULU, etc.   But for those locations where the wifi would be great if you were just close enough to their campground antenna is located this list of components will definitely give you the best chance of a strong signal.   I can say that using this set of components and if they are configured and setup correctly, it will bring in and amplify wifi signals from almost a mile away.

I must tell you that you should have a good understanding of wifi setup and static I.P. addressing of your PC, laptop, or tablet.   If you don’t then I’m sure there is someone close to you who does.

First, the Components list:

  • Ububiquiti-airgateway-access-pointiquiti Networks Airgateway Indoor AP (AIRGATEWAY)
  • TRENDnet 8dBi Outdoor Omni Directional Antenna TEW-AO08OTRENDnet-8dBi-outdoor-omnidirection-antenna
  • Ubiquiti-BULLET-M2-HP-Outdoor-802.11-BGN-M2HPUbiquiti BULLET-M2-HP Outdoor 802.11 B/G/N M2HP
  • iCreatin Passive PoE Injector and PoE Splitter Kit with 5.5×2.1 mm DC ConnectoriCreatin-Passive-PoE-Injector-adapter
  • A Wall-wart power adapter for PoE Splitter Kit – The airGateway is compatible with Ubiquiti PoE Adapters featuring 24V, 0.5A    or 15V, 0.8A.
  • A 10-20 foot long Cat-6 patch cable to connect the antenna outdoors to the Indoor Airgateway Access Point.
Ubiquiti-BULLET-M2-HP-Outdoor-802.11-BGN-M2HP ubiquiti-airgateway-access-point iCreatin-Passive-PoE-Injector-adapter TRENDnet-8dBi-outdoor-omnidirection-antenna

 

Second – The Concept of Operation.

Example scenario : Campground has a good reliable internet access but requires taking your laptop or tablet to the store or bathhouse to use it because of distance or tree interference.   You can purchase the above components for roughly $175 – $200 depending on shipping costs and where your buy them.   The antenna screws directly onto the Ubiquiti BULLET outdoor receiver which is configured using a web browser.  Then a CAT-5 or CAT-6 patch cord connects the Ubiquiti BULLET to the indoor Ubiquiti AirGateway access point which is powered by the Passive PoE Injector which is connected to your Wall-Wart Power Adapter.   The Ubiquiti AirGateway is also configured via a web browser.

Both the AirGateway and the Bullet are configured with a web browser and requires your PC to be given a specific IP address according to the instructions that come with them.  Basically, you are giving the AirGateway a SSID name and Security Password to prevent neighbors from sharing from your wifi hotspot.

Any device at that point will be able to receive and IP address from the DHCP component of your AirGateway ( according to how you set it up ).   In my case, I have my AirGateway setup to provide up to 10 addresses to limit the number of devices that can connect at any one time.   I also setup the unique ip address range to be assigned to my devices that are way outside the normal “off the shelf device” addresses.   I try to stay away from the 192.168.1.0 network.   I use 172.16.102.x   or 10.2.102.0 range to avoid interference with other typical network addressing schemes.

Diagram of complete Assembly:WiFi Repeater Overview

 

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Check out quick and easy camping recipes… | camping recipe

hobo-meals

We receive a monthly local magazine that usually presents recipes from the states cooks of the month.  This month’s theme was camping recipes.  I thought I would share the wonderful looking goodies with you this month since both food and camping are both near and dear to my heart.  Enjoy !

  • Campfire HashkeilbasaHash
1    large onion, chopped In a large skillet, cook and stir onion in oil until tender.
Add garlic and cook 1 minute, then add potatoes and
cook uncovered for 20 minutes.   Add kielbasa, cook and
stir until meat and potatoes are tender and browned,
about 10-15 minutes.  Stir in chilies and corn; heat through
then serve.
2    tablespoons canola oil
2    cloves garlic, minced
4    large potatoes, peeled and cubed
1    pound smoked kielbasa, halved and sliced
1    4-oz can chopped green chilies
1    can (15 1/4 oz) whole kernel corn, drained
  • Grandma’s Campfire Beansbacon-beans
4 to 6    cans (14-16 oz each) port and beans In large pan, fry bacon until crisp.  Remove from pan, drain
and crumble.  In same pan, saute’ onions and garlic until golden.
Drain off most of grease then add to pan.  The rest of the
ingredients. Stir and cook until bubbly, then simmer 10 to 15
minutes.
6    slices of bacon
1    clove garlic, minced fine
1    large onion, diced
2    cups brown sugar ( light or dark )
1    cup ketchup
1/8    teaspoon black pepper
  • Dutch Oven Blueberry Pieblueberry-dutch-oven
Blueberry pie filling Start with a mound of charcoal that is burning well.  Butter the bottom and
inside of the Dutch oven with butter or margarine.  Put in the blueberry pie
filling and the crushed pineapple.  Sprinkle cake mix on top of the pie filling
and pineapple mixture.  Cut up the rest of the butter or margarine and scatter
it over the cake mix.  Sprinkle with white sugar.  Set the Dutch oven on the
charcoal, placing several pieces of charcoal on top of the oven.  Let it cook
until done.
small can of crushed pineapple
butter or margarine
box cake mix
sugar
Dutch oven with sunken lid
charcoal
  • Hobo Dinnerhobo-meals
2  pounds ground beef Make 6 patties from ground beef.   Slice baking potatoes in half.   Peel and chop carrots
into bite size pieces.  Slice onion.   In 6 separate foil sheets, place 1 patty, 1 slice of onion
and 2 slices of potato and even portions of carrots and wrap.  Place on grate on top of a
campfire or grill.   Cook for 30-45 minutes, and remove carefully and enjoy.
6  baking potatoes
3  Vidalia onions
6  carrots

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Mountain Glen RV Park at Falls Creek Falls | RVing

FallsCreekFalls TN

FallsCreekSignAttending the yearly Mountaineer Folk Festival 2016 was a blast this year.  We were able to go with two other couples who are the types of friends that are more like family than just friends.  Two couples went ahead on Thursday morning while some of us had to work most of the day and leave after 2:00 pm.

We arrived last at around 5:30 pm and called Mountain Glen store ahead of time to let them know we were on our way.   They were more than gracious to assist us in finding the place, and getting us to our site even though technically we were going to arrive after they closed.  We were setup by 6:00 pm and ready to relax and enjoy time with our friends and eat.

The temperatures were perfect with low humidity, the campgrounds were clean, with excellent provisions for washing, restrooms, game room, and other features.  I especially enjoyed the full strength wi-fi that was reachable from any site in the campground.   I depend on wi-fi for email, TV streaming from Sling-TV, and working remotely ( If Needed ).   It was certainly the quietest campground I have ever enjoyed.  We almost felt like we needed to whisper when we were outside since it was so quiet we didn’t want to break the silence.  The store was well stocked with the items you would expect such as chips, marshmallows, soft drinks, and other handy items for camping needs.CampGround-viewOfLakeFromStore

We were in the area to enjoy the Falls Creek Falls scenery as well as the annual Mountaineer Folk Festival.  We were amazed at how much it had grown since the last time we were there.  We saw an enormous variety of crafts and old types of skilled artistry such as quilting, sorgum syrup rendering from raw cane, bluegrass music,  black smithing, pork rind frying, alpaca sheering, spinning wheel demonstrations to turn raw wool into yarn / thread. and weaving to make fabrics.    As much as we enjoyed that, we also spent a good bit of time at the food vendors, for funnel cakes, home-made ice creams, kettle corn, and root-beer floats.   We may have hit the ice-cream vendor 5-6 times, its hard to remember for sure.   I’m not sure how we just kept going by that booth ;-).

As for scenery, we saw the 600 + foot waterfalls, the beautiful lake areas for fishing, boating and swimming.  There were deer with fawns out in the open for easy photo opportunities as well as two wild turkeys that were a little shy for the camera but we got a few snapshots anyway.  The colors were beginning to change on the foliage.  Farmland was the most common feature of the area with mostly Mennonite houses and farms with a wonderful bakery with home made jellies and jams, breads, vegetables, fruits, and flowers.  There were also some extremely fine hand crafted swings, chairs, and gliders made from polished cedar wood and stained with a glossy protective surface.

Please see some of the photos that were made below.

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The Check List | RV Adventure

2016 Adventure Route

2016 Adventure Route

There were a lot of items on our “bucket list” for this and future trips, and this checked off a bunch of items.  One of the major items was to pick up 8 of the states we had never set foot into together.   Maine, Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont.  I have worked in Boston before but Norma and I have never seen the state from a tourist viewpoint.

New England WHALES

We have had a wonderful time so far, but there is lots more that we want to do.

Next on our check list is a whale watching tour.  We went to the wharf and bought tickets for Captain John Whale Watching tours which was to last around three hours.

We rode on the boat for about an hour when they sited a school of dolphins following the boat.  The captain slowed the boat so we could watch them.  The dolphins put on a show for about 15 minutes, and we then continued on out to sea.

Shortly after this we started seeing spray blow up out of the ocean.  Some would just slowing swim along side the boat, some would come straight out of the water catching lots of fish as they came up through the ocean waters.   When they arched their backs and their tales came out of the water that meant they were diving down to catch more food.  It was kind of funny, but we would be on one side of the boat watching the whales and someone would see one on the other side, so everyone was running from one side of the boat to the other.  It was a large boat, so thank goodness we couldn’t flip it over.  We watched them for probably about 45 minutes put on a magnificent show.

We then had to head back to shore which was sad.  I could have stayed out there for hours watching them.

LIGHTHOUSES

We saw some beautiful lighthouses while we were staying in the New England area.  We saw Nauset Lighthouse, Cape Cod Lighthouse, and the Portland Headlight.

We were able to drive to all of these, but there were many more that were only available by hike or boat.  They were all situated on the cliffs next to the ocean.  Some have had to be moved because the ocean is forcefully taking the beaches and cliffs away.  To think that years ago this was the only indication to weary sailors that there was land ahead.

There was one we saw while on the whale watch cruise that a man and his wife lived in -YIKES- it was small and about 5 miles from shore.  Now they have been replaced by solar panels and electronics.

COG RAILWAY

We got to the Cog Railway on Mount Washington about 30 minutes before time to board.  We went to pick up our tickets and found out that it was snowing on top of Mount Washington, so we would only get to go up about half way.

It was a little scary because the train was pulled with cogs up the mountain, and part of the grade was 50 percent.   It went a whole 5 miles per hour.  We saw a little red fox going up the mountain.  When we got about half way up the mountain it started snowing. There was already some snow on the ground.  They stopped long enough for us to take some pictures and then we made our decent back down the mountain.

We wished we could go all the way to the top, but we had a lot of fun anyway.

MAINE WILDLIFE PARK

We have wanted to see a real moose since we have been here.  There are moose crossing signs everywhere, but no moose can be found.  We decided we would just go see the Maine Wildlife Park instead.

There are many Moose Watching tours, but they are expensive and do not guarantee that you will see a moose.

The animals that live at this park have been injured or someone tried to raise them and they became to much to handle so they ended up here.

We were able to see moose, bears, cougars, deer (including a white one), woodchucks (including a white one), a badger, eagles, hawks, owls, and turtles.

This is a very nice place, and they are doing a very good work.

BEACHES

We have driven out to see quite a few beaches since we have been here.  Some have been around the lighthouses and have been closed because of all the beach erosion.   They are either very rocky or a gray sand, not like our white sandy beaches along the gulf.

Up until today the beaches have been very empty, but the temperature decided to go into the 80′s today which brought a lot of people out of hibernation.

We visited Old Orchard Beach in Maine today.  They have  a really neat pier, which holds shops and restaurants.

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Day 7 site seeing at Plymouth MA | Mayflower

On day 7 which was our first full day in Plymouth MA.  We slept in a bit since the drive was so long and tiring yesterday from Harrisburg.  We got up to a balmy 54 degrees outside, and Norma amazed me with another home cooked breakfast for us and it was delicious.  We washed a load of laundry as well.

MayflowerAbout 11:00 or so we decided to head out for a relaxing site seeing day.  We figured we would start with the Monument to the Forefathers which is hardly known even in this area, but is a huge and very reverent monument with a posting of verbiage on each side to reflect on the values that were the foundation to the life and faith of our founding fathers.  It is just sitting in a couple of empty lots in a neighborhood.  We met 3 very nice ladies from Cape Cod that were there when we arrived, and they were very friendly and acted shocked that we would offer to take a photo of them together.  We got to know them a little and found they are faithful believers, and they asked for prayer for our country, and we discussed our concerns for the future of this great nation.

We also wanted to see Plymouth Rock up close, and take better photos of that and the Mayflower II.   After that we wanted to drive down to Plimoth Plantation which was a very enlightening and eye opening tour of a real life farm and village that uses techniques for cooking, farming, and living in authentic buildings like the original settlers would have used.

We ate lunch at a small restaurant named Cafe’ Nicole on the sidewalk across from Plymouth Rock, and although it was good, it wasn’t up to the standards established at Isaac’s last night.

Enjoy the photos below to see a tiny bit of what we experienced today.  If you attempt this on your next RVing adventure, or other type vacation to this area,  BRING GOOD WALKING SHOES !!!!

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