RAINY DAYS AND MONDAYS

Arriving at:
Flanners Beach Campground
New Bern, NC


TRAVEL DAY - 116 miles

CAROLINA BEACH STATE PARK
to
FLANNERS BEACH CAMPGROUND

Rain, rain, go away! Especially on Mondays when we move.


Today's move could only be described as slow and steady, and maybe a little soggy! When we arrived at our new campsite today my backup camera on THE POD (our trailer) lost signal? I just got a new replacement wireless bluetooth monitor back from the manufacturer and it was working perfectly. You may recall the first one only worked once at the dealership when we took delivery of our trailer. So my first thought was, what's wrong now!

Stupid me, let me explain what happened. The backup camera on the trailer only works when my headlights are on, that's just the way it is hooked up. I readjusted the camera to view about 50 yards of the road behind me, so when I'm towing I can see if someone is there in my big blind spot (directly behind the trailer). I really like having that extra set of eyes while towing and I check it frequently. The headlight switch on ROVER (our truck) can be set to automatic (which they are) so they come on all by themselves when it gets dark or when your windshield wipers are on. Today just before we were pulling out of our old campsite we were sitting in the cab of the truck and setting up all of our electronics, the GPS to guide us on our route, the dash cam to video our drive (just in case of an accident or something odd flashes in front of the truck) and finally the trailer's back up camera monitor. All while we were preparing to leave it was raining out and my windshield wipers were on as we were sitting in the truck.

When everything was in place and working we pulled out and started our three hour drive to our new site. The entire drive today was done with the windshield wipers on. For the few brief minutes it wasn't raining there was spray being kicked up by the cars and trucks passing me or in front of me. As we arrived at the new campground it stopped raining and the sun came out. After locating our new campsite, I unconsciously turned off the wipers just as we started backing into our new driveway and consequently the backup camera monitor stopped working (just as I needed it most). After struggling a little more than usual to back the trailer into it's new home I realized what had happened.

On a normal moving day (one where the sun is shining) I have to move the headlight switch from automatic and manually turn on the headlights to get the backup camera to work. Today during the departure the headlights were already on because the wipers were on. Like I said, I felt so stupid for not immediately realizing what happened and instead was thinking how am I going to get this monitor fixed!

Now for those of you driving newer cars with all the automatic switches and gadgets to play with this might seem a silly mistake. But you have to realize we have been driving the same two cars for the last ten years in order to save money so we could retire early and begin this new lifestyle of fulltime RV travel.



Until next time
TWO PEAS


We encourage everyone to use the comment section below and if you wish to receive an email notice when there is a new blog entry for your review, please use the Subscribe widget at the top of the right hand column on every page.

PLEASE NOTE: Feed Burner will first send you an email to verify that you wish to subscribe to TWO PEAS AND THE POD to which you must respond before you will receive notices.

CAROLINA BEACH STATE PARK (NC)

GPS: 34.0471, -77.9072
1010 State Park Road
Carolina Beach, NC 28428
(910) 458-8206

through

=

4 nights on campsite #7
at $22.00* per night

* = Senior discount (>62 yrs)

SCORECATEGORYCOMMENTS
1-2-3-4-5
6-7-8-9-10
scenery Nicely wooded campsites, deep back in sites
1-2-3-4-5
6-7-8-9-10
privacy Nicely spaced but no real separation between sites
1-2-3-4-5
6-7-8-9-10
cell signal Usable signal but we turned on the booster
1-2-3-4-5 free wifi Only by the marina office
1-2-3-4-5 campsite size Some long deep back in sites and others not as big
1-2-3-4-5 electric Only on nine RV sites
1-2-3-4-5 water Only on nine RV sites
1-2-3-4-5 sewer Only on nine RV sites
1-2-3-4-5 table/fire ring On every site
1-2-3-4-5 showers Nice hot showers
1-2-3-4-5 toilets Flush toilets
1-2-3-4-5 laundry Just outside the park
1-2-3-4-5 security You are locked out of the park (including the campground) if not back by 10PM (no gate code)
1-2-3-4-5 quiet nights No complaints
1-2-3-4-5 wildlife Lots of birds and frogs
1-2-3-4-5 park staff Pleasant and helpful
1-2-3-4-5 activities Hiking trails and a marina


Bonus Points:

No bonus points here.


Additional comments:


Our Dining Out Experiences:

Read Two Peas And The Pod ..'s review of Something Fishy Seafood Restaurant on Yelp



Until next time
TWO PEAS


We encourage everyone to use the comment section below and if you wish to receive an email notice when there is a new blog entry for your review, please use the Subscribe widget at the top of the right hand column on every page.

PLEASE NOTE: Feed Burner will first send you an email to verify that you wish to subscribe to TWO PEAS AND THE POD to which you must respond before you will receive notices.

SOMETHING IN THE WATER?

Arriving at:
Carolina Beach State Park
Carolina Beach, NC


"The Tar Heel State"
is our 4th visited state

TRAVEL DAY - 102 miles

HUNTINGTON BEACH STATE PARK
to
CAROLINA BEACH STATE PARK

All 4 lane highway and two major cities! There was no good alternate route today.


Today was not a pleasant travel day! There was just no better way to get to our next destination other than straight up US17 which meant four-lane divided highway and lots of stop lights. On top of that we encountered a large amount of traffic when passing through the cities of Myrtle Beach, SC and Wilmington, NC. We would of had to travel many miles inland and out of our way to avoid these big obstacles. As if that wasn't enough, it rained pretty hard much of the whole time on the road today.

What was supposed to be a 2.5 hour drive turned into nearly 4 hours, our longest yet. We weren't on the road for more than 30 minutes this morning when I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me again. Some of you may remember when I saw a large pink elephant wearing glasses on the side of the road back in Florida, well today I saw an upside down three story building. So I shook my head to the left and then back to the right to see if it was still there. But when I looked to the left I saw King Kong, hanging off the side of a building with an airplane in his hand! You don't believe me, do you? Well this time we got a picture to prove it!

Turns out we were passing by the Hollywood Wax Museum in Myrtle Beach, SC and the upside down building was part of the WonderWorks amusement park across the street.

So in answer to the title of this post,
NO there is nothing in the water
and
I'm NOT seeing things,
yet.


Until next time
TWO PEAS


We encourage everyone to use the comment section below and if you wish to receive an email notice when there is a new blog entry for your review, please use the Subscribe widget at the top of the right hand column on every page.

PLEASE NOTE: Feed Burner will first send you an email to verify that you wish to subscribe to TWO PEAS AND THE POD to which you must respond before you will receive notices.

HUNTINGTON BEACH STATE PARK (SC)

GPS: 33.57333, -79.02583
16148 Ocean Highway
Murrells Inlet, SC 29576
(843) 237-4440

through

=

3 nights on campsite #107
at $46.00 per night + tax

SCORECATEGORYCOMMENTS
1-2-3-4-5
6-7-8-9-10
scenery Birders paradise here with lots of wooded area and oh yeah, there's a beach
1-2-3-4-5
6-7-8-9-10
privacy Some of the outside sites have good privacy but the inside sites do not
1-2-3-4-5
6-7-8-9-10
cell signal No booster needed here
1-2-3-4-5 free wifi Only at the office
1-2-3-4-5 campsite size Large back in sites galore
1-2-3-4-5 electric Some have 50 amp some only 30
1-2-3-4-5 water All sites have water
1-2-3-4-5 sewer Some sites have sewer some don't. Three dump stations at the campground exit.
1-2-3-4-5 table/fire ring All sites have both
1-2-3-4-5 showers Nice hot showers with adequate pressure
1-2-3-4-5 toilets Flush toilets
1-2-3-4-5 laundry On site but we didn't use
1-2-3-4-5 security Outside gate has digital code
1-2-3-4-5 quiet nights Slept well
1-2-3-4-5 wildlife Lots of birds, a few alligators and of coarse squirells
1-2-3-4-5 park staff Very pleasant
1-2-3-4-5 activities Historical landmark castle on site and botanical gardens across the street


Bonus Points:

1 bonus point here for preserving and maintaining the Castle Atalaya, the winter home of the Huntington's.

1 bonus point here for air conditioned bathrooms, that's right A/C.


Additional comments:

Beautiful Brookgreen Gardens with a small zoo is across the street and is a must see.


Our Dining Out Experiences:

Read Two Peas And The Pod ..'s review of Admiral's Flagship on Yelp

Read Two Peas And The Pod ..'s review of China Wok on Yelp



Until next time
TWO PEAS


We encourage everyone to use the comment section below and if you wish to receive an email notice when there is a new blog entry for your review, please use the Subscribe widget at the top of the right hand column on every page.

PLEASE NOTE: Feed Burner will first send you an email to verify that you wish to subscribe to TWO PEAS AND THE POD to which you must respond before you will receive notices.

BROOKGREEN SUMMER LIGHTS FESTIVAL

Brookgreen Gardens
Murrels Inlet, SC


The colors were amazing - if I had not already decided to go - this would have sealed the deal
Platforms were in front of the butterflies for people to stand and take pictures
If you look real closely, you can see that the frilly effect is created by using water bottles
The sunflowers are so cheery - I think this is my favorite!
Maybe the sunflowers are my favorite because of the bees
In between the lanterns the path was lit with twinkle lights and the trees were illuminated
The otters display
The gators were the only ones I noticed moving (the middle one's mouth was opening and closing)
The box turtle display
The eagle's nest
The herons
This field of dandelions changed colors and they were also made from strips of water bottles
Part of the herd of deer
The lily walkway was really cool to walk through
And excellent. The End!


- - - > > > TRICIA'S FIRST POST < < < - - -


While staying at Huntington Beach State Park and driving around taking care of a few errands, I saw a big sign for a Summer Lights Festival at the Brookgreen Gardens - right across the street from the campground.  Intrigued, I jumped on the computer when we were back at the trailer and discovered it was a series of illuminated silk lantern sculptures in a variety of native animals, insects and plants, in the zoo section of the park (think Chinese Lantern Festival). There was only one night it was open while we were in town, but that’s all I needed!

Phil wasn’t as excited as I was, so he dropped me off and I got to wander alone.  

Since it only runs 7pm to 10pm I decided to get there early and walk around while it was still light out. Then walk around again once it was fully dark, that turned out to be perfect. The lanterns were nice at dusk, but they were amazing in the dark! There were volunteers everywhere to answer questions and show you the way if you were lost.  One volunteer told me this was the first summer of the festival and all the lanterns were made specifically for Brookgreen Gardens. Very cool!

When you first drive in, you are met by a trio of peacocks.  Once you walk through the entrance gate there are butterflies for everyone to take their pictures in front of.  Then you enter the zoo and walk under an arch of parasols. I think my favorites are the sunflowers!  Then as you walk, the lanterns match the exhibits (i.e. at the otter exhibit there are otter lanterns . . . alligators by the alligators) and then - - - OH NO - - -  then the camera battery declared it was ‘exhausted’! To make matters worse the 2 back up batteries in my bag were never charged. How did this happen? I finished the loop taking pictures with my the cell phone.  Now back at the entrance what to do, call Phil and end the evening early? No way!

Since the light rain is getting a little heavier I decided to find the pavilion I went by earlier to get out of the rain and see if it had an electric outlet.  Sure enough, there was an outlet there, it was right next to a bench, and it was working. Perfect - now charging the camera battery, out of the rain, waiting for full dark - I read my book.

By the time full dark came around, my battery was charged, the rain had stopped and I was ready for another 1 mile loop around all of the displays.  Every lantern was even better with the background faded away by the night and the camera battery lasted for the whole trip. Yeah!

As I walked out of the zoo area, Phil was at the entrance waiting to pick me up and take me home!  What a fantastic night!



Until next time
TWO PEAS


We encourage everyone to use the comment section below and if you wish to receive an email notice when there is a new blog entry for your review, please use the Subscribe widget at the top of the right hand column on every page.

PLEASE NOTE: Feed Burner will first send you an email to verify that you wish to subscribe to TWO PEAS AND THE POD to which you must respond before you will receive notices.

BACK TO THE COAST WE GO

Arriving at:
Huntington Beach State Park
Murrells Inlet, SC


TRAVEL DAY - 119 miles

POINSETT STATE PARK
to
HUNTINGTON BEACH STATE PARK

Nothing but two lane drive today!


If you've been following along and paying attention you've notice that lately we only tow THE POD on Monday and Thursday. There is a reason for that and today was a perfect example why.

It all starts within the campground. Most, but not all, campgrounds are busy with activity on the weekends. The Weekend Warriors are campers who arrive late on Friday night after work and leave early on Sunday afternoon so they are back to work on Monday. We are very familiar with this type of camping because we were Weekend Warriors for the last fifteen years. They typically camp in tents, but some have gone they next step and purchased a camper of some sort. This creates a difficult situation for maneuvering our trailer in and out of our campsite because of all the extra traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian. It also creates long lines at the dump station when exiting the park. For this reason alone we only move on Monday (after everyone has left) or on Thursday (before anyone arrives) between the hours of 10AM and 2PM. This was all planned into our journey last year when we made all of our campground reservations.

You may wonder why I bring all of this up now, well it's because today we realized one other advantage to this strategy. Our back roads route through rural South Carolina today brought us through a dozen very small towns. They all had a couple things in common on the main road through town:

1.) Everyone was at work. So very little traffic and no traffic lights to stop our pace, only the speed limit was reduced (usually to 25 or 30 MPH) while briefly within the town borders
2.) Even a small town of 500 people would have at least three churches, all on the main road. Can you imagine what it would be like to try and drive though town on a Sunday when most christian churches hold their services
3.) Each church had it's own cemetery right next door. Can you imagine what it would be like to drive though town on a Saturday when most funerals are held

So for now we are keeping with the Monday and Thursday rule for towing THE POD, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.



Until next time
TWO PEAS


We encourage everyone to use the comment section below and if you wish to receive an email notice when there is a new blog entry for your review, please use the Subscribe widget at the top of the right hand column on every page.

PLEASE NOTE: Feed Burner will first send you an email to verify that you wish to subscribe to TWO PEAS AND THE POD to which you must respond before you will receive notices.

POINSETT STATE PARK (SC)

GPS: 33.80361, -80.53417
6660 Poinsett Park Road
Wedgefield, SC 29168
(803) 494-8177

through

=

4 nights on campsite #5
at $18.00 per night + tax

SCORECATEGORYCOMMENTS
1-2-3-4-5
6-7-8-9-10
scenery Very wooded sites
1-2-3-4-5
6-7-8-9-10
privacy Nicely spaced but no screening between sites
1-2-3-4-5
6-7-8-9-10
cell signal Usable but we used the booster
1-2-3-4-5 free wifi Only at the park office
1-2-3-4-5 campsite size Large back in sites will fit most rigs
1-2-3-4-5 electric All RV sites have 30/20 amp service
1-2-3-4-5 water On all the RV sites
1-2-3-4-5 sewer Free dump station on the way out of campground
1-2-3-4-5 table/fire ring On every site
1-2-3-4-5 showers Hot on demand water with great pressure
1-2-3-4-5 toilets Flush toilets
1-2-3-4-5 laundry In a not so nearby town
1-2-3-4-5 security None - people driving through sightseeing all the time and some stopping to use the showers and bath house
1-2-3-4-5 quiet nights Nobody here to make noise
1-2-3-4-5 wildlife Saw a fox from the campsite and lots of squirrels
1-2-3-4-5 park staff Office barely staffed and camp host never in camp
1-2-3-4-5 activities Lots of hiking and fishing and hilly camp roads to bicycle


Bonus Points:

No bonus points here.


Additional comments:

None


Our Dining Out Experiences:

Read Two Peas And The Pod ..'s review of Willie Sue's on Yelp



Until next time
TWO PEAS


We encourage everyone to use the comment section below and if you wish to receive an email notice when there is a new blog entry for your review, please use the Subscribe widget at the top of the right hand column on every page.

PLEASE NOTE: Feed Burner will first send you an email to verify that you wish to subscribe to TWO PEAS AND THE POD to which you must respond before you will receive notices.

CONGAREE NATIONAL PARK

Congaree National Park
100 National Park Road
Hopkins, SC 29061

CONGAREE
NATIONAL PARK


Today's activity:
video tour & guided 2.5 mile boardwalk hike


The entrance sign at Congaree National Park
Steve, our very knowledgeable tour guide for today
He was quick to point out the poison ivy to everyone
The dense tree canopy covering most of today's 2.6 mile tour
Even the giants come toppling down every once in a while
Most of the tour was on this elevated boardwalk
The lower boardwalks become submerged for several months every year
The trees show the high watermark during the rainy season
An American Giant Millipede
After being touched by a leave he goes into a defensive posture
One of many dragonflies keeping the mosquito population under control
A Five Lined Skink
A Green Frog
A Plain Bellied Water Snake
A Yellow Bellied Slider

Today's visit to Congaree National Park was a pleasant surprise. We went in not expecting too much and ended up coming out with a much appreciated knowledge of exactly how rare this area is today and why it has come up through the ranks of the Nation Park System. From being privately owned until the 1960's, to being designated a National Monument in 1976 and finally becoming a National Park in 2003, Congaree has grown in size and importance. The park contains the largest tract of old growth bottomland hardwood forest left in the United States. The trees here are some of the tallest in the eastern United States, forming one of the highest temperate deciduous forest canopies remaining in the world.



for more info visit this
CONGAREE NATIONAL PARK
website link


Until next time
TWO PEAS


We encourage everyone to use the comment section below and if you wish to receive an email notice when there is a new blog entry for your review, please use the Subscribe widget at the top of the right hand column on every page.

PLEASE NOTE: Feed Burner will first send you an email to verify that you wish to subscribe to TWO PEAS AND THE POD to which you must respond before you will receive notices.

WE ARE HEADING INLAND

Arriving at:
Poinsett State Park
Wedgefield, SC


TRAVEL DAY - 99.8 miles

BUCK HALL RECREATION AREA
to
POINSETT STATE PARK

We're taking a break from the eastern coastline


Today our journey takes us inland, nearly 100 miles from the South Carolina coastline. You may wonder why, especially when you find out our next campsite is back on the coast again. The answer is simple, Congaree National Park. One of our hopes on this trip is to visit all of the National Parks located in the lower 48 states. While Congaree is a relatively new National Park (est. 2003) and is 4th from the bottom in annual attendance (for the lower 48) it's still worth a visit from us.

One anomaly during today's trip was the fact that a bridge was closed for repair on our route and we had to take an unscheduled detour. I was wondering why Google maps wouldn't route us down a section of US521 just south of Manning, SC and our Garmin GPS would. I'm going to have to remember that when we leave here.



Until next time
TWO PEAS


We encourage everyone to use the comment section below and if you wish to receive an email notice when there is a new blog entry for your review, please use the Subscribe widget at the top of the right hand column on every page.

PLEASE NOTE: Feed Burner will first send you an email to verify that you wish to subscribe to TWO PEAS AND THE POD to which you must respond before you will receive notices.

BUCK HALL RECREATION AREA (SC)

GPS: 33.0375, -79.56278
1099 Buck Hall Landing Road
McClellanville, SC 29458
(843) 336-2200

through

=

7 nights on campsite #2
at $10.00* per night

* = Lifetime Senior Pass discount

SCORECATEGORYCOMMENTS
1-2-3-4-5
6-7-8-9-10
scenery Pretty sites with a distant ICW view
1-2-3-4-5
6-7-8-9-10
privacy None between sites and very little shade
1-2-3-4-5
6-7-8-9-10
cell signal No booster required
1-2-3-4-5 free wifi None
1-2-3-4-5 campsite size Large back in sites
1-2-3-4-5 electric On every site except tent sites
1-2-3-4-5 water On every site except tent sites
1-2-3-4-5 sewer Nasty dump station on way out of campground
1-2-3-4-5 table/fire ring On every site
1-2-3-4-5 showers Only one with a dirty floor and shower curtain
1-2-3-4-5 toilets Stained and dirty, not flushing well
1-2-3-4-5 laundry Nearest laundry is 30 miles away
1-2-3-4-5 security No real security here, gate left unlocked
1-2-3-4-5 quiet nights Slept just fine
1-2-3-4-5 wildlife Nothing special
1-2-3-4-5 park staff No staff, just camp hosts to check you in and out
1-2-3-4-5 activities Just hiking trails and fishing in the ICW


Bonus Points:

No bonus points here.


Additional comments:

This campground would have scored at lot higher if the bathrooms were maintained. There are two huge piles of lumber placed on the ground outside of each bathhouse. Obviously roofing materials, but it has been sitting there so long the plastic sheeting that covers it is rotting away and soon the lumber will face the same fate. The inside of the bathrooms are even worse. Water stained toilets and shower stalls with soap stains on the walls. There are porta-potties just outside the bathrooms for what I assume is when none of the toilets are operating.

Nice location close to Charleston and quaint little McClellanvillle, but terrible facilities. Glad we were only paying $10.00 a night with our Senior Pass Discount.


Our Dining Out Experiences:

Read Two Peas And The Pod ..'s review of The Rusty Rudder on Yelp


Read Two Peas And The Pod ..'s review of Hog Heaven on Yelp
Read Two Peas And The Pod ..'s review of Brown Dog Deli on Yelp
Read Two Peas And The Pod ..'s review of The Humble Crumb on Yelp

Until next time
TWO PEAS


We encourage everyone to use the comment section below and if you wish to receive an email notice when there is a new blog entry for your review, please use the Subscribe widget at the top of the right hand column on every page.

PLEASE NOTE: Feed Burner will first send you an email to verify that you wish to subscribe to TWO PEAS AND THE POD to which you must respond before you will receive notices.

DAY TRIP TO CHARLESTON (est. 1670)

Basecamp Location:
Buck Hall Recreation Area (USFS)
McClellanville, SC


If you enter the City of Charleston, SC from the north on US17 you will pass over the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. We captured this dashcam footage as we traveled over it this morning.


Once into the city we were able to catch one of the few premium parking spaces in the City Market parking lot. From this location we were able to explore the market and riverfront areas on foot. With the temperatures today in the lower 90s there wasn't going to be a lot of walking. But by always walking down the shady side of the street we did manage to cover a lot of ground and see most of the highlights this city has to offer.

Where our Charleston visit began
The grand entrance to the City Market
One of the many Sweetgrass Basket booths at the market
The exit of the the City Market four blocks away from the entrance
Waterfront Park walkway
The Pineapple Fountain
The Circular Congregational Church
The rear entrance to the Gateway Walk
Rainbow Row


To learn more about any of the sites mentioned in photo captions click on the links below:

Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge
City Market
Waterfront Park
Pineapple Fountain
The Circular Congregational Church
The Gateway Walk
Rainbow Row


Until next time
TWO PEAS


We encourage everyone to use the comment section below and if you wish to receive an email notice when there is a new blog entry for your review, please use the Subscribe widget at the top of the right hand column on every page.

PLEASE NOTE: Feed Burner will first send you an email to verify that you wish to subscribe to TWO PEAS AND THE POD to which you must respond before you will receive notices.