Monday, August 27, 2012

We Landed

St George, South Carolina

We really didn’t feel like traveling anywhere yesterday.

Al really didn’t feel like driving north on I-95, especially after we read Sherry’s blog about the poor conditions of the highway in South Carolina.

We considered staying put in the southern coastal area of Georgia.  Cumberland Island National Seashore was nearby and we really would have loved to have been able to spend a day there with the wild horses.  It’s only accessible by boat and we understand it’s a very natural and beautiful place.

We kept checking the hurricane   “spaghetti models”  and the “cone of uncertainty”, to see where Isaac was going and where the bad weather would be.

Unfortunately, we were still not sure we would be in a good area.  Our concern was that if we waited in south Georgia for the day, we would lose our window of opportunity to leave.  Since the storm continues to move at night, and we don’t, we figured we’d better get some more distance between us and the storm.

Florida got hammered yesterday and again today, with heavy rain bands and squalls.  Glad we weren’t there.  The Vero Beach area got some 20 inches of rain.  We had been there just a few days ago.  Glad we left.

Reluctantly, we left about 11:30 am.  It was a bit breezy when we left,  but sunny all the way.

We saw dozens more utility trucks heading to Florida to help with the storm damage.


Just before we crossed into South Carolina, the road got pretty bad.  In fact, that was my clue to get out the camera and take the following picture.


The interstate was named the Dwight Eisenhower highway, and we guessed it had been built during his presidency and hadn’t had much maintenance since!   We hit a nasty pot hole or two, but it wasn’t as bad as we had expected. 

We drove up the interstate about 189 miles and landed at Jolly Acres Rv Park, in St. George, South Carolina. This is where Sherry and David stayed last night, and in fact, I think we’re probably in the same site they used last night.  Thanks Sherry for the good recommendation.  It’s a great spot for overnight or even for exploring Charleston a little bit.

Map picture

Jolly Acres is about 5 miles off the I-95, and very close to I-26, which will take us right into Ashville, North Carolina.   We’ve been wishing we were in Ashville all summer long because of their much cooler temperatures.  We’re only about 200 miles away.

This is a very nice campground.  It’s well cared for and everything is immaculate.  The Passport America rate for 50 amp is $20.33 a night.  They allow 4 nights (but not the week-ends) at that rate, but only charge $125 for a week.  We think we might just stay here about a week, get some R&R and explore Charleston a little.  We’re about 45 minutes from Charleston, so it’s easily a day trip. 

We’re tired of moving.  During the past week, we moved the motor home twice to go to Clearwater, once to go to Vero Beach, once to go to Woodbine and again to come here.  We drove way too many miles.  This is definitely not our travel style.  We prefer a drive less than 200 miles and then stay a couple weeks.  We do not have PDD!

Today we were planning on doing some chores, including Love Bug removal from the front of the motorhome.  Love bugs appear like clockwork twice a year, in May and September.  They are a few days early this year. 

Want to see what a love bug looks like?  Maybe this would have been a better “the end” shot?


This is what our windshield looked like.  Once we set up camp and let Baxter out of his travel cage, he went after all these bugs.  It took him a few minutes to realize they weren’t going to be any fun to chase, since they weren’t moving.


We’re looking at the maps and just started realizing we might have to go over some mountains to get to Ashville.  (duh) 

Al and I have never driven a motorhome or trailer into the mountains.  We’re Floridians and not used to mountains….or hills for that matter.  The highest elevation in Florida is 345 feet, and that was nowhere where near we lived.

Driving this big rig in the mountains makes us both nervous, and we’re not sure exactly how to handle the braking or transmission.  I guess we need to read our engine and transmission manuals.   Any good advice or suggestions?   We don’t want to burn up our engine like Howard and Linda did.

Have any of you driven I-26 northwest from South Carolina into North Carolina?  That’s the route we will be taking.  What should we expect?  

We are planning on setting down roots here for about a week.  We need to be sure of a campsite (thanks Bill and Nancy for the reminder), and frankly we’re tired of moving.  We are only 45 minutes from Charleston and there is lots to do there, so we’ll keep busy……providing the weather holds out.

Florida is getting hammered today with rain and wind.  We got some pretty strong Isaac related rain today, but so far not much wind.  We are still not completely out of the path of the storm.  Hopefully, as it moves west things will improve here.

We planned on relaxing today, taking a nap and maybe watching a movie.  Unfortunately, we ended up spending half the day taking a kitty to the vet.  He’s okay.  More tomorrow.  No, it wasn’t Baxter.  He’s here and ornery as hell  Smile


  1. I don't think there's any need for you to worry about your rig being able to handle the mountains here in the east especially if you are taking interstates. I didn't have any problems with them, and my rig isn't even a diesel.

  2. You wont have any trouble doing 26 up to Ashville there is some hills from where 74 intersects with 26 up the Saludia grade to just south of Hendersonville. Let the transmission look out for itself it is smart enough. Turn on your exhaust brake and leave it on so you are used to it and it will more than handle coming down any grades you will find on 26 just make sure when you see the down hill warning sign to slow down so you don't hit the hill at full speed and have to brake to get the speed down. Have fun up there and do not worry about your motor it can handle it, it is beautiful country and make sure you visit the Biltmore estates.

  3. Glad you're safe from the storm. The area you are in sounds like a wonderful place to stay and explore. The farthest north on the west coast we got on our big 2005 trip was Jekyll Island near Brunswick. I was sorry we didn't have time to go all the way to Savannah and Charleston.

    Maybe there'll be another time.

    Look forward to hearing more about the area from you.


  4. As you know, I agree with Judy. Your diesel pusher will handle these mountains with no trouble at all. Hope you head out for Ashville since you really want to see it. But staying put until after Labor Day might be a good idea.

  5. We really enjoy exploring Charleston. We love all that "Southern" hospitality.
    I agree with Judy. You two should be fine driving in the mountains. This will give you a chance to add another state to your map.

  6. Driving on a road is just driving on a road. It doesn't matter whether it's flat or points up or down. Your bus will take care of it. All you have to do is point it. There's an awful lot of country to see on the other side of those mountains.



  7. Okey, you want to feel real good and have reason for a cocktail hour celebration ???? Well get this, had the weather with Steve Jerve, Channel 8, Tampa on the iPad two different times today......this afternoon about 3 and tonight about 7..... Tornado warnings two at a time over Wessley Chapel and high winds..... At 3 PM and then at 7 PM a tornado sighted...... WOW, how lucky can you be ???
    You will LOVE Asheville when you get there....but in the meantime have a rest and relax ... Charleston is super too...... Fun walking around town....
    I am safe and sound in the Smokies !!!!

  8. You have a Thousand Trails park in Yemassee. You might as well practice on the hills there. Someday you will want to go west and they are really steep. Interstates are OK. Slow down prior to the hill then let the jake brake work. Only use regular brake when necessary. Don't ride that brake. Sounds like we missed some rough weather in FL. Darn, bet we run into love bugs on the way back.

  9. Explore Charleston a lot! One of my favorite cities.

  10. You have a rig that can handle the mountains just fine. Here's what you need to do...downshift before you start climbing, stay in at least 4th or 5th gear, keep your RPMS around 2,000-2300 going UP AND DOWN. Your temperature will rise as you go up, don't let it worry you unless it goes WAY up. If you are downshifting, it will kick the fan on and keep the engine cooler. DON'T USE CRUISE CONTROL to maintain constant speed. Don't ride your brakes. Use them to keep your RPMs where they need to be, but DON"T RIDE THEM. Tap them firmly. If you need any more info, email Eldy. You'd think I was the one driving to know all this stuff, but this is from Eldy. Naturally! We've been through mountains all over the U.S. and one of the highest passes in the U.S. without any problems. Eldy is the MAN! :-)

  11. P.S. A lot of this advice came from Freightliner School and the instructor was talking about the mountains in your area. You could just let your rig handle all the climbing, and not worry about it, but it's going to be a lot more wear and tear on the engine by not watching RPMs and downshifting.

  12. Your motorhome will have no problems with those mountains. Going downhill just use the exhaust brake and maybe a bit of downshifting going up hill.

    Relax and enjoy the ride:)


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