North Carolina

Current Location: Lumberton/I-95 KOA, Lumberton, North Carolina

This morning, we got the trailer hitched and ready to go, then headed to the main building at the KOA to enjoy some free waffles. We brought our own drinks, but they did have coffee and orange juice available. The waffles were great. Though they were free, there was a donation box that we dropped a couple dollars in.

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Waffle time.

We headed out about 8:45 and had an easy drive up I-95 to Lumberton, North Carolina. The KOA here is an older campground with new owners (a little less than a year) that are working on fixing the place up. They’re doing a great job so far. The main area of the campground has a smattering of trees, so we had a very sunny site all afternoon.

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Lumberton KOA, Site 30

After we set up, Val decided to relax in the trailer while the air conditioning caught up. Malcolm checked out the swimming pool and decided to go for a swim for a while. The water was just perfect and the pool very nice. It was a great way to cool off (the temperature here was around 95 degrees when we arrived).

We decided to eat dinner out at Cracker Barrel up at the next exit. Malcolm enjoyed the camp style beef dinner – one of his favorites that they introduced last summer. After dinner, we stopped by the Food Lion to pick up a few groceries, then headed back to the trailer. After putting groceries away, we walked to the back of the park where there is a short trail out to the Lumber River, which runs right behind the campground.

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The Lumber River

It’s not a very big river at this point, but it was quiet and scenic.

Tomorrow we head north, then east to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We have reservations out there for three nights.

We’ll close with a cool picture that Val grabbed as we were heading up I-95 today.

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I see us

Moving Along

Current Location: Jacksonville North/St. Marys KOA, Kingsland, Georgia

We packed up and left Panama City Beach this morning, heading east to the coast, then north. We ended up stopping just over the Georgia border for the night. When we were about five miles from our exit, it started raining really hard. Like, slow down to 45 mph on the interstate and put on your flashers hard.

Malcolm went and checked in by running through the rain with his umbrella. It was still raining (did we mention thunder and lightning?) as we pulled into our site. We finally just sat in the truck (Malcolm) or trailer (Val) to wait out the worst of the rain before we finished setting up. The storm was part of a line of late afternoon pop-up thunderstorms. Before we drove into them, the truck said it was 95 degrees outside. Afterwards, it was 75. So, there was that.

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All set up in our site. Rain moved away.

Once set up, Malcolm drove over to a nearby gas station and filled up the truck with fuel. We drove about the longest safe distance we could on one tank today (327 miles). The low fuel warning came on as he started up the truck to go fuel up.

Once back, Malcolm did some work until dinner time. We had grilled pizza for dinner. It came out really well. We used pancake mix (instead of Bisquick) for the crust, which worked out great. The remaining toppings were Ranch dressing, cubed chicken, green onions and bacon bits. It cooked up really well on the grill and was very tasty.

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Grill pizza

We walked around the campground after dinner and stopped by their store to pick up a t-shirt for the t-shirt quilt. We checked on postcards, but they didn’t have any.

Tomorrow (after free pancakes and waffles), we’ll head on up the road to our next reserved overnight stop in Lumberton, North Carolina.

Edited to add: After posting this blog entry, Malcolm looked through his spreadsheet of all known places that his grandparents stayed on their full-timing journeys and found that they had stayed at this campground on several occasions (typically between Ft. Myers, Florida and Durham, North Carolina).

 

Starting North

Current Location: Grassy Pond Military Recreational Area, Lake Park, Georgia

On Sunday, we ran over to Lowe’s Home Improvement after measuring our outdoor kitchen refrigerator to check on a refrigerator we saw there that was liked. There was nothing wrong with ours, but we just didn’t like the layout nearly as much as the one at Lowe’s.

We took our tape measure with us to the store even though we had taken a picture of the measurements on the box the last time we had looked at it. The refrigerator that our unit came with is 22 inches deep and there is almost no slack at all between it and the exterior door. At most, we could put something in that was 22 1/4 inches deep.

The original refrigerator

The original refrigerator

When we got to Lowe’s, the display refrigerator was only about 21 1/2 inches deep, so we shrugged at the 23″ measurement listed on the box and put a box on a cart and took it up front to pay for it. We got back to the trailer and removed the current refrigerator and mounted the new one to the base that the old one was mounted on. Since the new refrigerator was taller, it was a struggle getting it through the door and into the unit, but we finally got it in. That’s when we realized that the refrigerator in the box (which looked slightly different than the display model) was, indeed, 23 inches deep. The door was not going to shut with it in there. We really should have measured it before going to all that effort.

Working on the base

Working on the base

So, everything went back into the box and we took the box back over to Lowe’s. It was obvious that the floor model was not the same exact refrigerator that was in the box. When we went to the return desk at Lowe’s, we asked if we could buy the floor model since we knew it would fit. The clerk there told us to talk to the appliance manager. We did and she said that would be fine. It would be considered a new unit and would carry the full factory warranty. Plus, she gave us a $25 discount on it.

We took the display model up front and finished up the refund and payment for the new refrigerator. We took the new one back to the trailer and just stuck it inside the door since we were headed to meet David and his friends for lunch. We left the old refrigerator in the truck to take to the base to give to one of David’s friends who had mentioned it would be nice to have his own small refrigerator in his room (since he shares a full-size refrigerator with three other airmen).

We met them all for lunch at Sonny’s Bar-B-Q, then headed onto base to drop off the refrigerator and say goodbye to the guys. Back at the trailer, the new refrigerator went right in, as we suspected. It fits just like a glove. Loading stuff back into it, we already liked the layout a lot better.

It fits!

It fits!

Much nicer layout and a real freezer, too.

Much nicer layout and a real freezer, too.

With the refrigerator in place, we went to Panera Bread for dinner and Target to pick up a couple items, then back to the trailer to finish packing up for Monday’s move.

Today we were on the road before 8:00 AM. Traffic was a bit heavy in Panama City Beach, but not terrible. We headed north on US 231 to I-10, then east to Tallahassee. We took US 319 north out of Tallahassee and US 84 east to Valdosta, Georgia. Then, south on I-75 to almost the Florida border to get to the Grassy Pond Fam Camp for Moody AFB. We have Heartland friends (Becky and Jeremy, otherwise known as the Crowded Camper bunch) who are military and they got us in the campground for two nights.

Grassy Pond

Grassy Pond

After we got set up, Becky brought Chick-Fil-A out to the campground and we had lunch on the picnic table, since it was a balmy 78 degrees outside. After we ate, we gave a brief tour of the trailer then headed down to finish getting checked in. Becky dropped us off to pick up her daughter from school. We freshened up a bit, then headed over to their house for a spaghetti dinner and an enjoyable visit.

We plan on hanging around with them tomorrow. Jeremy is a pilot and was flying this evening, so we didn’t get to see him. He will be around most of the day tomorrow.

License plate states were a bit thin today. We were mostly on US routes and traveling a day after everyone was going home after the holidays (probably a good call on our part). 19 out of 51 plates gathered today.

License Plates

License Plates

Off We Go

Current Location: Lookout Mtn. / Chattanooga West KOA, Trenton, Georgia

This morning we got up on a normal schedule and got everything hooked up and ready to go by about 8:45 AM. We chatted with Nathan, the camp host, on our way out, then stopped at the dump station to empty the tanks. It was a little foggy in the campground, but much foggier as we got out toward the main road – US 231. Malcolm had originally planned on taking US 231 north towards Talladega to pick up I-59 there, but with the dense fog, we decided to do the interstate route instead.

A little fog at the campground

A little fog at the campground

Getting foggier

Getting foggier

At US 231

At US 231

Fortunately, the fog wasn’t a factor after we got a few miles north of Montgomery and it was smooth sailing the rest of the way. We stopped by Camping World in Calera, Alabama to get some new carpeted step treads to replace our two-year-old ones. We also picked up an outdoor mat.

Instead of staying in the Holiday Trav-L-Park just south of Chattanooga, we decided to try out the KOA west of town in Trenton, Georgia. It is actually a nice little park set back into the woods and hills. We were originally assigned a long pull-through site out in the open (only about a half dozen sites are out in the big open area and the rest of the park is heavily wooded.

As we unhooked the truck from the trailer and started leveling it up, we were swarmed on the door side of the rig with Japanese Ladybugs – our nemesis from the last couple of years. Malcolm noted that there was a nice, long pull-through site behind us in a heavily shaded area and got our site changed with the manager. We hooked back up and backed across into the new site. We are actually backwards in the site, as the hookups are on the door side of the trailer, but the view out the door side is nicer than the view if we had pulled through the correct direction (the dumpster).

The shady spot

The shady spot

We got everything set up and Malcolm decided to put the new step covers on. He found that the latest design has a little pad glued to the back side which makes the entire cover a little thicker. The old covers were just thin enough that you could fold the steps up with a little effort. The new covers prevented the steps from folding completely up. Malcolm finally figured out we would have to leave the cover off the last step. We stowed the extra cover and left the bottom step uncovered.

Wear on the old step cover

Wear on the old step cover

New step cover in place - we chose darker brown this time

New step cover in place – we chose darker brown this time

Difference between the old (L) and new (R) covers

Difference between the old (L) and new (R) covers

With the step covers out of the way, we decided to just eat dinner in the trailer and take it easy instead of trying to go anywhere. Malcolm spent the evening scanning pictures into the computer (we have an entire tote full of pictures to scan), wrote out a couple of postcards and typed in the blog.

Tomorrow we plan on going to Rock City to use our tickets we purchased about a year and a half ago (the weather then was too bad to bother going). We’ll probably poke around the area the rest of the day. We do need to stop by a WalMart or somewhere to buy some button cell batteries for a couple of the tire pressure monitor sensors. Two of them decided to die on the trailer and Malcolm swapped the batteries from the two front tires off the truck into the trailer ones to get them up and running again.

Today’s license plates – 21 plates.

License plates

License plates

Hotel Living

We ran errands this morning and stopped by Malcolm’s office at lunch to take a few co-workers to lunch. One is moving to the new Nashville office later this week so Malcolm wanted to say goodbye.

After lunch, we dropped off the truck, made sure the trailer was buttoned down for our absence (water off, A/C turned up to 80) and loaded up the car. We drove to Atlanta and are spending the night in a hotel near the airport. We fly out at 8:50 to head to Seattle and the grand babies.