Tag Archives: Motor Home

Notes and Photos to and from Myrtle Beach 2017

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 ).

 

 

Day 6 leave Harrisburg for Plymouth MA

On day 6 of our New England adventure we had to leave Harrisburg, Hershey, and Amish areas in order to make our scheduled reservations at the very nice Pinewood Lodge and Campground.   It is very spacious over many acres with a wide spread of wooded private sites, but at the same time has they still offer cable, wifi, and 50 amp full hookups.   We made our reservations a few months in advance so we could be assured a pull-through site.   It turns out that making plans ahead was a good decision.

Welcome to MassachusettsIt could have been done faster, but we took a little over 7 hours to drive from Harrisburg, up through New Jersey, and New York, but WAY AROUND NYC.   Then on through New Haven Connecticut, and Providence RI, to eventually reach Plymouth MA.  The traffic was a little lighter than I had feared but was probably appropriate for a normal mid-week business day.  We stopped a few times for stretch breaks, and once for a fuel top-off.  I don’t like getting below 1/2 tank just as a safety precaution.

Once we arrived at the camp grounds, and got checked in, and setup, we got in the car and drove 15 minutes to the best seafood restaurant I’ve enjoyed in a log time.   The food, service and view were all outstanding.  From our window side seat, we could see the entire harbor, including the famous Plymouth Rock, and the Mayflower-2.  So not only is the motor home “topped-off”, but we are too.

This was scheduled to be a travel only day, and site-seeing would have started tomorrow.   However we have already seen some of the items we wanted to get to, and scoped out places that we want to visit so we now know about how long it will take to get to the mayflower tour, and the monument to the forefathers.   We may squeeze in a whale watching tour here instead of waiting until Portland ME.  We are also going to do a light-house tour in Cape Cod.

Some of the items we saw were Hudson River, Connecticut River, a Shopping Mall that was on the top 2 floors of a parking deck “elevated mall”, unique church and house architecture, unique bridges over large bodies of water, wind turbines, and lots of other sites.  One thing for certain, is that they control their speed limits up here by destroying their interstates to the point that it is not possible to drive faster than the posted limits or it would shake you to death !!!

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3rd day in Harrisburg

Hershey-Gift-ShopBy now we have pretty much mapped the place out and at least know how to get to Walmart and a few restaurants.  We spent the morning getting ready for the day at Hershey which also has a nice Tanger Outlet shopping center nearby.

We don’t do roller coasters, slingshot rides, and bungee jumping any more so the theme park is out for us until the grandkids get older anyway.  We wanted a quiet tour around the factory and grounds and to learn a bit about how an individual can change the world with his vision of factory made and mass produced chocolate using local milk from dairy farmers and cocoa beans from all over the world.  This guy was a genius and his legacy lives on today with a lot of interest world wide.  There were a lot of non english speaking people at the museum and gift shop.

We made it to Hershey in about 15 minutes of leaving the campgrounds with no traffic delays, and only a couple of traffic lights.  We entered the town of Hershey and noticed that the lamp posts held up a Hershey Kiss shaped light cover on every pole.  The entire town seemed to benefit from the product and marketing genius of this Hershey guy.

We arrived at the parking lot and although it was not empty, it certainly was not full either.  We were able to get a front row spot next to the walkway that was covered by a canopy and walked right into the factory tour and gift shop building.

The tour was a simulated factory with real equipment in motion, but videos and animatronics did all the talking and most of the imagery of product was produced with video overlaying the real conveyors to give the sense of seeing working factory.  The process was described in detail, but the recipe of how much ingredient was somehow left out of the tour.  OH YEA, and the nice thing was that the tour was given while riding through in rotating carts like tea-cups.  It was definitely worth the trip, and there were lots of other events that we could have done, but cost money and seemed to be directed towards families with children.

The gift shop was amazing, and had items that I had never seen before.  They also had a “build your own” candy bar room that was similar to a build-a-bear system except with candy.   We also were shown an area where you could learn how to taste and discern chocolates like a wine connoisseur except with exquisite chocolates.  That’s all I need is for Norma to become a chocolate connoisseur from the choc-o-holic she is now.

When we left the Hershey World building, we found next to the theme park was a Tanger Outlet shopping center.  Well Heaven help me if we don’t stop and get something else for the grand kids.   That would break their little hearts to not have a new pair of Frozen flip flops or a new Mickey Mouse plate to eat out of.  😉

We had a great day and the weather was perfect, not hot, a little breeze.  We stopped and purchased fresh “ripe on the vine” strawberries as a recommendation from our friends Jim and Barb, and they are sweet, and delicious.  There was a little pop up summer shower just as we returned to the camp ground but just made for good relaxing nap.

Tomorrow we leave bright and early to head around NY City to reach Plymouth and Cape Cod area to see all the historical items of interest in that area.   We Might also find a restaurant or two that serves sea food.

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Recent RV Adventure

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First RVing adventure of the season.

Well,
As usual the week started out beautiful, warm, and sunny as I witnessed from my office.  My wife is also off work this week for Spring Break so what better time to get in the RV, hook up the tow car (toad), and head out on another adventure.

Newmar Dutch Star

We wanted to go somewhere we haven’t been for a while.  We spent a couple of days searching, and reading reviews on several places within an hour or two from the house.  The decision we came to was to leave Thursday and stay the weekend at Desoto State Park in Fort Payne Alabama.   It has beautiful scenery, and is a difficult enough drive for us to test towing the car up mountains and around fairly tight curves and obstacles.

[Photos of RVing at Desoto State Park]

So, the 100% guaranteed forecast every time we go camping, it turned off rainy, foggy, and cold.   BUT ALAS, that did not deter us from our long awaited adventure and getting out and enjoying our RV.   So much for sunshine, and warm weather.  IT IS GOING TO RAIN IF WE GO RVing !!!!

Told you it was foggy !
Told you it was foggy !

We are very blessed to have several friends that decided to join us and we followed each other to the beautiful Desoto State Park.  Traffic was mild as we had hoped it would be since we decided to drive after the 8:00 rush hour was over.  We had no issues driving up the steep mountain other than one of those huge oversized crane’s that have 10 axles was going 15 miles per hour up the mountain to the campground.   When we arrived we were greeted with hostesses that were exceptionally helpful and friendly.

We were checked in by 10:30 in the morning and were driving to the pull through sites which both of us benefited from.  However once we got everything disconnected from the tow car, and his truck disconnected from his fifth-wheel.  We realized the sites were a little more uphill than they appeared.   My camper had to sit the front bumper on the ground by evacuating the air from the suspension, while raising the back jacks to the point that the rear tires are just barely off the ground <yikes>.   But, again, I am happy to be RVing with my wife and friends.

After about an hour of levelling, and hooking up electric, water, sewer, and putting the slides out.   We also stretched out the awnings for the first time since last season.   I ALWAYS get my wife to check the faucets while I turn the water on ( read other pages to find out why ).  The kitchen faucet blew completely off the sink due to over pressure and it appears it may have frozen and cracked over the winter.   Anyway, no big deal, there is a Lowes at Fort Payne and we picked up a repair part and replaced the sink nozzle.

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Our friends also were working out some kinks from their winter storage too.   They got settled in just to find out they have no hot water.   So we worked with that for a short while.   GOOGLE is great for troubleshooting, but in this case everyone who posted their problems, and their fixes were all unique.   Nothing in common with his problem.  So my fall back strategy is to take things apart one screw at a time until I find the problem.

We checked fuses, circuit breakers, power, tried lighting the gas pilot light with a manual charcoal starting lighter.  All to no avail.   I started taking things apart to see deeper into the problem, and the only thing I noticed was that their was a normal oxidation from being an outside appliance.  There was normal wear and tear from a gas burning element which left a little rust like residue inside the burner tube.   We vacuumed that out, and cleaned everything we could find with a steel bristle tooth-brush.  When we put it all back together we asked the ladies to turn it on and see what might happen, and POOF.   It light right up immediately which I wasn’t really expecting because we didn’t really do anything but scrub off the oxidation and put it back together.

Summary after thought was that cleaning everything and tightening everything back must have grounded wires back to a better surface connection.   For whatever reason, it works so we took credit for fixing it like we knew what we were doing.  Our wives were happy that their skilled men fixed a critical and life dependency for hot water.

No better day than today to go RVing!   I love my camping adventures.!!!!

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