Home Away From Home

Headed to South Carolina

it’s May 3 I think – Sunday and we’re on our way to Townville, SC, Lake Hartwell Camping, a Passport campground.

After I got up I enjoyed my cup of coffee and then went on to get my shower, dress and began securing everything in the back for our day of traveling. I knew Jerry wanted to get on the road as quickly as possible. Had he known that we would be traveling around Atlanta he might have suggested leaving even earlier. As it was we pulled out of the campsite at 9:08 and were on the road soon. There was right much traffic going around Atlanta but it was Sunday morning so I’m sure it was lighter than normal. Thankfully we didn’t go through Atlanta. I’m learning about routing and hopefully will do better in the future. Land is getting a lot flater and we don’t hear the coach go into overdrive nearly as often. Glad we don’t need any gas because gas in the Atlanta area is the most expensive I’ve seen on the trip.

When we realized that we would be passing near Dawsonville I called Debbie, Jerry’s sister to see where she was. Of course she was in NC.

It has been a nice sunny day for travel. Constant traffic most of the way but not stressfully heavy. We’ve talked a bit about favorite campgrounds, least favorite, how many miles to drive in a day and what would influence that decision. Overall a nice ride but quiet. I have offered to drive a couple of times but Jerry says he’s OK.

12:50 brief stop at the Visitor’s Center just as we entered South Carolina, only about 20 minutes from our destination – I hope!

We arrived at Camp Hartwell Camping at 1:15 but unfortunately the office was closed with a note that they’d be back at 12:45. Someone arrived at 1:45 – couldn’t set the clock? When she finally came back someone in front of me was paying for storage or something with $1000 cash. I had to wait quite a while but understood that her $1000 was much more important than my $19.80 that had already been paid. We finally got to the campsite after 2:00, a little tricky coming in but it was a pull through. From the looks of the place though I asked Jerry if he really wanted to stay here. His comment of course was “we paid for it”. It was a nice looking campground but people unfortunately looked a little sketchy and across from us was a “cabin” (really a trailer) and a couple of yelping dogs.

Oops, change of plans. After two attempts Jerry could not get the rig level and with everything else he said let’s go on so he headed to the office to the office to see if we could get a refund. Of course not! On our entire trip the best campground we stayed in was a Passport and the worst – this one, is a Passport. Guess you never know.

We were leaving by 2:35 and on the way to Tom Johnson Camping in Concord. We had Adkins bars for lunch as we rode along hoping we could even get into the campground. I called several times and each time got transferred to Charlotte Motor Speedway, something about a big concert week-end. Someone from the Speedway was trying to contact the campground and was supposed to call me back. In the meantime we were headed there. We had no electricity with the battery – fridge was not working – so we needed hook-up tonight!

We stopped in Gaffney, SC to get gas and Jerry asked me to drive for a while – bad decision. I had only been driving a little while when the traffic began to pick up. As we passed a Rest Stop Jerry asked if I was OK and I lied and said yes. Traffic began to get even heavier with an additional lane and I was in the middle with cars and BIG trucks passing me on both sides. I finally told Jerry that I was about to have a nervous breakdown. It took us a few minutes to find an exit so we could stop and exchange seats. We pulled into a shopping area but that didn’t work and getting out of there was very difficult. We finally turned into an empty Hobby Lobby parking lot, exchanged drivers and as we were pulling into the street the car dolly drug, the coach swayed, the pantry door opened and cans began rolling out. Fortunately the coffee pot was plugged in or it too would have been on the floor. Perhaps this was an omen of what was to come.

I was really disappointed and thinking this was not a good way to end a trip. The poor campground shook my confidence in finding good places to stay and the driving experience surely took away what little driving confidence I had away. Of course Jerry tried to make me feel better by saying it was a poor decision to ask me to drive into the Charlotte area and traffic. He also said I needed to do two things – drive more to the center line and we discussed how to do this and he also said I needed to relax! Ok – I’ll do that – one day maybe!

When we pulled into Concord and up to Tom Johnson it looked like Woodstock must have looked. Tents, campers, cars, everything everywhere. I could see why they never called us back. We found out later that it was the Carolina Rebellion, intense heavy metal music for the entire week-end. We pulled in the drive at Tom Johnson and Jerry decided if I moved the cone he could drive in and get us back out on the highway. First time I’ve ever defied authority and moved a cone but I did it. We idled next to Tom Johnson while I looked for a nearby campground while listening to deafening music. I found Apollo Campground, called and they had an empty site.

We went over – it was only .8 of a mile away and behind a couple’s home. They were elderly and so sweet. The man led us to our site and we finally got parked. As Jerry was leveling and we were setting up we met the couple next to us, Sandee and Mitch from Florida in their Tiffin Allegro – we have seen so many of those this trip. After getting set up and warming up dinner we went next door and visited with them until after 10:00. The music stopped somewhere around 10:00 finally. Sandee said it had been going on since 9:00 Friday morning stopping at 11:00 each night. It was so loud it shook the ground where we where! They were a delightful couple who gave us some good ideas and encouraged us to look into COE parks. That I will do for our next trip.

It was a difficult and depressing day but ended on such a good note. Made me not want to end our trip but alas, home was calling.

We got up the next day, packed up the car with nearly everything in the RV and took it to Tom Johnson’s. We went over the list of concerns, about 15 items, and then after lunch at Olive Garden we left Concord about 1:00. We stopped for gas and for a break at a Rest Stop and were home before 5:00. I unpacked while Jerry started mowing the grass!

What a wonderful trip and I’m ready to start planning another.

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