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A Southern Sojourn - November 17 - December 1, 2016

Since we returned from the Nova Scotia trip the Montreal weather was pretty dreary. While we have plans for an escape during the holiday period to the Caribbean, there was time left with not too much booked and the Roadtrek had not been winterized yet so we decided to head far enough south that the weather was largely above freezing and finding a camp site open was not too hard.

Day 1 - November 17, 2016 - On The Road Again!

Departed a bit late at 9:47. It was 9 C in Pointe-Claire. Made one coffee and nature stop before heading over the 1000 Island bridges.

After all the galley clean out customs was a non-event taking about 30 seconds. We did pick up a couple of bottles at duty free though.

Next stop was Camping World in Syracuse. Lill bought some gadgets and Rod bought a small Coleman grill (NXT Voyager) which connects to RV tank. It is a special model made for Camping World.

As the sun set we landed at the Cracker Barrel in Binghamton NY, had a good dinner, got permission to camp for the night, made a quick trip to Price Chopper to stock the galley then back to CB for the night.

The Numbers For Today

Distance:546.9 KM
Time On Road:6:55
Average Fuel:14.4 L/100KM

Day 2 - November 18, 2016 - Getting Further South

Since we were parked at a Cracker Barrel we did not even bother to make our morning coffee but rather headed inside for a good "country breakfast". Based on that experience we picked up a 2 lb package of their thick-cut bacon.

It was brisk enough overnight (just short of freezing) with a forecast for worse so our objective for the day was to get further south. We set an objective of the Shenandoah Valley KOA near Harrisonburg, VA.

The day was basically pushing our way down I81. The driving was not the worst but the 81 has gotten a lot busier over the years since we last drove it. As usual there was road construction through most of PA but nothing that delayed us significantly.

Since we had crossed the border Lillian had pointed out Arby's restaurants. She remembered when an old friend of ours was somewhat enamoured with their food and had somewhat good memories herself. For some reason my memories were less fond. Either way, when we took a fuel break there was one nearby so we took our lunch break there. Lillian had a classic beef sandwich and I tried a beef gyro. Neither was really bad but we were not vastly impressed for our tastes.

We got to the Harrisonburg / Shenandoah Valley KOA about 4 PM. We booked a site for 2 nights, found it, and then headed back to the main road to pick up some "grape juice" at the 7-11. Back at camp Rod put together his new grill, connected it and gave it a test. It seems that the "quick-connect" on the Zion may be before rather than after the regulator since the gas pressure was way too high. Investigation will be required and possibly a regulator added to the line before we will be able to use the grill. So much for grilling for the present. We made some excellent bacon-cheese burgers the usual way in the galley.

The Numbers For Today

Distance:599.8 KM
Time On Road:7:13
Average Fuel:13.6 L/100KM

Click for pictures from Day 2.

Day 3 - November 19, 2016 - Poking Around Shenandoah

A 2 pot-of-coffee start to the day. No big miles planned for the day - just some poking around the area and relaxing. We built a breakfast around left-over biscuits and corn muffins from Cracker Barrel with some other goodies from the pantry.

Around 10:50 we finally headed off to explore. Our first stop was Shenandoah Heritage Market. We enjoyed a wander through the various vendors. We did not buy much but did find a kitchen store that had a good selection of Rada Knives at some pretty decent prices. Rod could not resist picking up a couple of spare "super-parer" knives with the newer handle. This style of knife seems unique to Rada and has been a favourite of ours for many years. We have some where we have all but sharpened the blade away. Rod also lusted a bit over a Stetson that was on sale at another vendor but we managed to escape before another excess hat was acquired.

We next headed for Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia near Staunton. On our way we passed a Virginia ABC store where we stopped for "supplies". We discovered that wine was best purchased at good supermarkets so we picked up a couple of bottles of "hard stuff" and moved on. By the time we got to the museum the weather had deterioriated to the point where a visit to this largely outdoor exhibit was not worth the admission. We spent some time in the visitor center the decided to pass on the visit.

When we got off the Interstate to head for the museum we had noticed a Red Lobster restaurant. We had not been in one for years since they have long abandoned Quebec so we decided to stop for a late lunch. We each had a soup (Lill - clam chowder, Rod - lobster bisque) and split some bay scallops and shrimps. While not superb, they hit the spot.

We decided to head back to the KOA after a supermarket stop. We picked a Martin's supermarket suggested by the manager at the ABC. We picked up some better "grape juice" than we found at the emergency stop at the 7-11 along with some other food items including a hot, roasted chicken.

We then headed back to the KOA where we largely relaxed and snacked on the chicken for a late, light dinner. We decided that the weather was still not warm enough to suit us so we booked a couple of nights at Virginia Beach KOA.

The Numbers For Today

Distance:165.3 KM
Time On Road:2:50
Average Fuel:16.6 L/100KM

Click for pictures from Day 3.

Day 4 - November 20, 2016 - Heading For The Coast

During our wanders yesterday Lillian had picked up some cinnamon buns that became the basis for breakfast along with our usual pot of coffee. We left the camp site at 9:00 AM but were delayed waiting for the office to open to get the key to the sani-dump. We really did not want to cart a full tank of dish water to Virginia Beach. By 9:15 we were under way.

The trip to the coast was uneventful and the scenery quite pretty as we worked our ways through the mountains. We got to Virginia Beach KOA. about 2 PM and checked in. After that the first order of business was a good lunch. A scan of nearby restaurants turned up the Surf Rider restaurant which seemed worthy of inspection. We found our way there. Lillian ordered a glass of wine, Rod a Guinness and we decided to forage on appetisers as is often our habit. We ordered a shrimp salad (about 10 medium-sized shrimp) and their "Tuna Bites". The latter are 8 oz of Yellow-fin Tuna cut in chunks seared to order spiced with some Cajun seasoning. They sold these for $9.75 and they were extraordinary. We ordered "rare as you dare" and they were so good we had to order another round. Given that we have paid CA$30 per pound for lessor tuna at home the value was awesome.

We did some other shopping around including a small toaster-oven for $30, took a tour of the "water-front" area then headed back to camp about 5 PM.

We had planned to finish our hamburger for dinner but lunch carried us well enough that we snacked on bacon and cheese sandwiches washed down with some "grape juice"

The Numbers For Today

Distance:456.7 KM
Time On Road:5:59
Average Fuel:14.4 L/100KM

Click for pictures from Day 4.

Day 5 - November 21, 2016 - Exploring Around VA Beach

A leisurely start to the day. We had a nice breakfast of bacon and buckwheat pancakes from our galley after which Lillian "indulged" in a shower. Hotter water would have made the experience more satisfying but the basic needs were met.

We decided that a good way to pass the day would be to explore the coast to the south of Virginia Beach. We set off just before noon and followed the coast down to the "Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge". We discovered we could not enter with the dog even kept in the van. Oh well - we move on. Lillian's ankle still not up to too much beach walking anyway.

We then back tracked a bit before heading down through Pungo towards Knott’s Island, NC. After enjoying some lovely scenery we eventually took the free ferry back across to Currituck, NC and worked our way back up to the KOA. We were considering going back to the Surf Rider for more of their superb tuna but once we got back to camp we decided to forage from the galley, sit by the fire and have a quiet evening. The food and beverage part worked just fine but it seems that the folks at Naval Air Station Oceana had other ideas. We have had hours of Hornets and Super-Hornets passing overhead since we returned. As I write this it is 10:30 PM and a flight has just passed over. It is quieter at home next to Pierre Elliot Trudeau Airport and the main CN and CP east-west lines at home. Any thoughts of staying another day have vanished and a night has been booked at the KOA in Myrtle Beach, SC. The forecast there looks pretty good for the next week so we will start at the KOA but may explore some of the others while we are there.

The Numbers For Today

Distance:143.9 KM
Time On Road:3:17
Average Fuel:15.1 L/100KM

Click for pictures from Day 5.

Day 6 - November 22, 2016 - South To Myrtle Beach

We woke up to more Hornet activity from the base so we packed up and hit the road. We had our usual pot of coffee while we worked but did not stop to make breakfast so we could escape the noise.

We finally stopped for a bite at the Cracker Barrel just before we got on I95 about 10:50. We mostly stopped to pick up some more of their bacon since our supply was all but gone but it is hard to walk by a CB breakfast.

There is not too much to say about the day. It was mostly spent rolling down some of the less exciting parts of I95 though we did make a quick stop at Camping World in Fayetteville, NC.

We finally made it to the KOA in Myrtle Beach just before 6PM. We checked in and were guided to our site. Even in the dark the camp looks great and the price is decent - especially for a KOA - and the folks friendly. So far Internet service is decent as camp Internet goes and the signal at our site is good.

After a chat with a couple from Ohio who came over to see the Roadtrek, we made a good dinner from our galley and are settling down for the night. If all looks a decent in the morning and the weather still looks good we will probably extend to Friday.

The Numbers For Today

Distance:642.8 KM
Time On Road:7:31
Average Fuel:14.9 L/100KM

Day 7 - November 23, 2016 - Settling In To Myrtle Beach

Since we had no great targets for the day we started leisurely with a couple of pots of coffee and a nice breakfast from our galley.

Having taken a look at the facilities in the daylight we easily made the descision to stay at least until Friday. The decision was made easier by the fact that they were planning a "pot-luck" Thanksgiving Dinner with them supplying the Turkey, Dressing and Gravy. We sigened up promising "potato salad - Canadian style" as our contribution.

Since the weather was nice Rod gave Weston a good grooming then hit the showers. A nice couple, Ned and Deb, from Akron, OH dropped by to peek at the Roadtrek. We had a nice chat before they went on with their day. They must be good folks since Weston actually let them give him a bit of a scritch.

We then went out to do some shopping to refresh our supply of "grape juice (yeast-contaminated variety)" and pick up some other needed supplies. It was 17 C as we head out which was getting just fine. We established our presence in the U.S. South by shopping at a "Piggly Wiggly" which is a chain of franchised stores in NC and Georgia.

We then wandered toward home while considering what would be good for a late lunch. We were passing the Myrtle Beach State Park so we wandered in and, after paying our $5 each admission, went on to make a nice lunch in the galley then take a nice walk around the area including out along the pier where we saw many fishers and a brassy egret. We also met a couple who were biking by and stopped to chat when they saw our Quebec license plates. Turns out they were from St. Hubert and he had worked at Pratt & Whitney back in the 1960's when they were developing the PT6. Small world!

We eventually worked our way back to our camp site where we had a grand feed from the galley and spent the evening by the fire.

The Numbers For Today

Distance:49.6 KM
Time On Road:1:41
Average Fuel:16.6 L/100KM

Click for pictures from Day 7.

Day 8 - November 24, 2016 - Thanksgiving In Myrtle Beach

A wonderful slow day. The weather was beautiful - T-short weather. We finally had somex` breakfast along with the second pot of coffee.

We spent the morning doing minor chores, walking about and generally enjoying the day. The dinner was planned for 3 PM so about noon we started preparing our contribution.

Since the "gray" was showing full we disconnected the RT and drove it to the dinner at the recreation center since the sani-dump was right next to it.

The meal was grand. The food was excellent and we met a variety of interesting folks. It did not last too long though so we were back at our site before 5 PM. We lit a fire and had a pleasant evening reading, chatting and generally relaxing. We are thinking of extending to Sunday - this place works for us!.xxx`

The Numbers For Today

Distance:0.9 KM
Time On Road:0:09
Average Fuel:50.0 L/100KM

Click for pictures from Day 8.

Day 9 - November 25, 2016 - Black Friday In Myrtle Beach

Lillian had plans for an early shopping start. Early turned out to be 8:30 when Weston woke her up to go out. We did get under way about 9:30 with the temperature already at 19 C.

The main destination was the Tanger Outlet Center on Highway 17. Lillian had a couple of specific stores she wanted to visit this "Black Friday". Her mission was accomplished by a little after 11:00 AM so we escaped the growing madness of this center.

Since we had not had any significant breakfast we were both getting a bit "peckish". We moved further north up 17 to the Barefoot Landing area where we knew there were a number of eateries. We had a chat with someone at the welcome center who, given the hint of local and seafood, recommended the Flying Fish Public Market & Grill.

We took the suggestion and walked over to the restaurant where we were made welcome with a dish of crackers and a dish of what we understand was smoked Mahi-Mahi dip. It was lovely - especially to a couple of hungry folks. Lillian ordered some atlantic salmon and Rod had Cajun seared snapper. All was excellent. We also took advantage of the market aspect to pick up a pound of fresh shrimp and another order of the dip.

After lunch Lillian set out to examine the various shops while Rod took Weston for a bit of a tour. Rod joined up with Lillian and we enjoyed a thorough examination of the area. We eventually headed back to our home at the KOA with a stop at a Publix store to replenish a few supplies.

Back at camp we lit a fire and opened a bottle of wine and relaxed for a bit. Around sunset Rod peeled the shrimp and set them to steam in some Newcastle Brown. We snacked on them with some Romaine lettuce. We then relaxed by the fire for a couple of hours before heading in for the night. All around, a grand day!

The Numbers For Today

Distance:43.8 KM
Time On Road:1:36
Average Fuel:17.5 L/100KM

Click for pictures from Day 9.

Day 10 - November 26, 2016 - Exploring South Of Myrtle Beach

We took a nice slow start to the day. While we were both up an moving by 9:00 (Lillian somewhat earlier to humour some hairy housemate), we too time for a nice breakfast. Lillian took time for a shower and some reading while Rod collected up some photos from phones and tablets the took a general review of the pictures from the trip to date. Most are now up with links from this travelogue but using the simple thumbs and pictures delivery. They should be switched to the multi-platform slideshow delivery soon.

As the clock headed for 2 PM we decided to do a bit of exploring south of Myrtle Beach. We did some driving along the shoreline near Garden City. As we exhausted that and rejoined the 17 Lillian mentioned wanting to hit a bookstore for the next in a series she was reading. We noticed a Books-A-Million at the Inlet Square Mall in Murrels Inlet as we moved a bit further south. We stopped there and Lillian went book shopping while Rod made a couple of sandwiches in the Galley. Besides her book Lillian also picked up a couple of iced cappuccinos to go with "lunch".

While we enjoyed our lunch we explored the shoreline of Murrels Inlet then moved further south to explore Pawleys Island - a fascinating old place.

The sun was getting lower in the sky so we headed back to "the ranch" arriving just as the sun was setting. We popped in to the office to extend until Monday which will probably be our day to hit the road back north (sigh) and to dump the "evil tanks". We had a great "clean out the fridge" dinner around a nice fire.

The Numbers For Today

Distance:98.7 KM
Time On Road:2:32
Average Fuel:13.6 L/100KM

Day 11 - November 27, 2016 - Last Day In Myrtle Beach

Another slow start with a nice breakfast from the galley. Around late morning we figured we should explore around a bit more since we were planning to turn back northward tomorrow (Monday) morning. We first parked down near the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and got some exercise checking it out. It was a bit cool for walking the beach so we eventually headed back to the RV.

We decided to find some lunch so we headed to Broadway at the Beach and worked our way to Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville since it was there. We each had a Margarita of course and split a Bison Burger and some Peel 'n Eat Shrimp. After picking up a couple of T-shirts to add to our collection from various Margaritavilles we explored the rest of the place for a while before heading back to camp.

We had a fine dinner from the galley and burned up most of the remaining firewood. Tomorrow we head for the Charlotte / Fort Mill KOA. We seem to be on a jag of KOA's this trip. They have been convenient to our travels and are easy to reserve and the prices have been decent.

The Numbers For Today

Distance:12.7 KM
Time On Road:0:39
Average Fuel:22.7 L/100KM

Click for pictures from Day 11.

Day 12 - November 28, 2016 - Heading Homeward - Myrtle Beach to Charlotte, SC

We had most things packed up before going to bed so it did not take is too long to get underway. We left the camp site about 9:15 in 14 C weather. After a stop on the way out to dump the "evil tanks" and top up our propane, we hit the road.

We eventually stopped for a late breakfast at the Cracker Barrel near Florence, SC. We then made fairly directly to the Charlotte / Fort Mill KOA.

We arrived around 3 PM, checked in then set about finding some protein for dinner. We noticed The Roasting Oven And Grill nearby so we popped in to buy one of their Rotisserie Chickens to enjoy back at camp. A good dinner, a bottle of good wine and a relaxing evening

The Numbers For Today

Distance:378.3 KM
Time On Road:4:49
Average Fuel:14.4 L/100KM

Click for pictures from Day 12.

Day 13 - November 29, 2016 - Heading Homeward - Charlotte, SC to Natural Bridge

Not much today. Hit the road about 8:30 in light rain. Most of the morning was driving in rain with some fog. We made a few stops for breakfast and other breaks and arrived at the Natural Bridge / Lexington KOA about 2:30 PM.

we settled in to a nice camp spot just next to a brand new Laundry/Bathhouse which we used to grab showers and to catch up a bit of laundry. We were able to borrow a small BBQ and had a fine dinner.

The Numbers For Today

Distance:403.7 KM
Time On Road:4:23
Average Fuel:13.5 L/100KM

Click for pictures from Day 13.

Day 14 - November 30, 2016 - Heading Homeward - Natural Bridge to Hershey, PA

A distinctly soggy day. At least it was warm - about 14 C as we packed up to go after a good breakfast from the galley. We hit the road about 9:45.

The day was mostly a wet drive up I81. We made the occasional stop along the way including one at a Cracker Barrel for a good lunch and a break from wet driving. It turns out to have been well timed since the weather was a bit dryer as we moved on.

We arrived at the Jonestown / Hershey NE KOA about 4 PM. It was still raining on and off so we spent a nice evening in the Zion using up some wine that needed to be reduced from the inventory before we crossed the border. We also had a good "clean out the fridge" snack for dinner.

We are looking at J & J Campgrounds near Mexico, NY as a possible last stop. We are about an 8 hour drive from home at this point which is longer than we prefer but not beyond us by any stretch.

Click for pictures from Day 14.

Day 15 - December 1, 2016 - Heading Homeward - The Final Stretch

Just a quick note to say we ended up pushing for home. The weather as we headed up through NY state was not conducive to hanging about.

I will fatten this when I get a few minutes but we landed at our local Cage aux Sports in time to enjoy wing night before heading home at about 19:00.

Click for pictures from Day 14.