Our 2007 Road Trip, Part 2: Signs of Georgia

This is such a great post on driving through Georgia and what you will see coming down I-75. Brings back a lot of memories.

Midlife Crisis Crossover!

Giant Peanut! Behold the World’s Largest Peanut, according to the good people of Ashburn, Georgia. Also possibly the World’s Most Hypoallergenic Peanut.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 Anne and I have taken a road trip to a different part of the United States and seen attractions, marvels, history, and institutions we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. For 2007 we changed up our strategy a bit and designed an itinerary for what would prove our most kid-friendly outing ever. Granted, my son was now twelve years old and less kid-like than he used to be, but the idea was sound in principle.

Thus in this year of our Lord did we declare: the Goldens are going to Florida!

When most people think “road trip” in the fanciful sense…

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My Friend, Anxiety

You see, I have anxiety issues, I’ve had them since I was in my early 20’s…I’m always searching for tranquility.

Leaving the greater Savannah, Ga. area was a relief. Something about the city makes me uneasy, traffic, people, and the noise.  I couldn’t wait to leave and find some peace and quiet.  No motors, no electrical buzzing, no loud people.  I got on the “Googles”   looking for such a quiet place.  I searched for a free camping site and found Barrington County Park.  The description sounded good and it was less than 45 miles south.  The hubby made a quick phone call making sure the park was still open to the public and off we went.

The closer we drove the better I felt.  You see, I have anxiety issues.  I’ve had them since I was in my early 20’s.  It seems the symptoms have gotten worse with age.  I’m always searching for tranquility.

I guess that’s why traveling in a camper sounded so good to me.  It’s a self-medicating thing.  Similar to the drug user looking for their next fix, I’m looking for a secluded site to reduce my anxiety.

Well,  back to the camping thing…the butterflies in my stomach are gone and my heart has stopped racing.  I look forward to enjoying this site for the evening.  I took a refreshing shower with well water this evening, today was hot.  It felt great to wash my hair.  While we were at the showers, we met a camper/dweller (he was a nice enough fellow, full of information) who informed us this site is typically busy on the weekend with local young’uns who like to party.  I believe we will be leaving before then.

Have you ever noticed that your biological clock kicks in when there is no power for lights?  The sun is setting and I am getting sleepy. By the time the sun set, the crickets and frogs were in full party mode.  The park was quiet and the temperature was dropping.  I was drifting off to ‘La la’ land.

I woke to a cool morning with hot coffee made from our french press.  After looking at the day’s temperature, my hubby and I decided we needed to find somewhere to buy ice.  The worse thing in the heat is to be dehydrated.  So off we drove to the next town over, Jesup, Ga

I just hope my dear friend, anxiety, won’t follow me but it seems she always does.

Down in the Boondocks

Forty five miles from Savannah, Ga. we traveled to a Barrington County Park, a secluded free camp ground…

Forty-Five miles from Savannah, Ga. we headed south to a quaint, hidden, free campground called, Barrington County Park.  On the outskirts of Townsend, Ga. off Hwy 57, there is a sizable camping area off of Harper Lake.  Harper Lake is fed from the Altamaha River system.  Traveling into the park was a little hairy.  You will travel approximately three miles on a wide, maintained dirt road.  Here’s the catch, there are three miles of small ruts on this road, as all dirt roads seem to have, just beware of your speed and drive carefully.

Being our first experience at boon-docking, Barrington County Park was a pleasant surprise.  At first sight, the grounds were very well shaded with oaks and their companions, Spanish moss.  The ground is covered in clean sand, (if that matter to anyone). The advertisement was true and correct as to their description of dry camping, trash pick up, running water (well water), showers and flushing toilets.  Now mind you, the water pressure wasn’t great, but it got the job done. It was very refreshing after a hot day.

Barrington Cnty Park (3)

There were only two tent setups and two other campers on the grounds.  We could park anywhere we wished. Parking close to the Lakeside (it looked like a small river) we had a clear view of the jumping fish, birds, and squirrels.  Not far from the fishing and boat dock (built by the Department of Natural Resource) we had the perfect spot.

Now for the bad news, internet access was spotty, very spotty.  Our service provider is Verizon, and we were receiving incoming calls but no internet.  As I mentioned before, there is plenty of shade.  So, if you plan on using solar panels you need to be choosy where you park.  I needed to mention these issues so you may plan your activities accordingly.  I also spoke with a local who gave us some very vital information, If you are planning to use this site to boon-dock, it’s best to come and enjoy the peace and quiet during the weekdays.  The locals use this spot for a party hangout on the weekends.  We didn’t stay to confirm this activity.

All in all, it was a very nice, clean park.  A little bit difficult to get to, but if you want a little R and R away from everything and everybody, give it a go.

Maiden Voyage to the Deep South

Our first maiden voyage to the deep south in out 1975 Cruise Air motor home. We found the weather very unforgiving…

Dotty’s maiden voyage into the deep south started two Fridays ago.  We found the weather very unforgiving, at  45 to 50 mph, the winds were atrocious.  A major storm front was developing to the west.  The camper felt like a sailboat being tossed on the high seas.  After only about four hours of driving, we were exhausted.  The drive left us racked and on edge.  Making it only to Findlay, Ohio (Flag City) we parked Dotty and batten down the hatches, boondocking at the first Wal-Mart we could find.

Saturday morning came early, the winds died down to 20 mph making it a little better for driving. We sailed our way to Richmond, Ky taking it slowwww.  Dotty was running great but the steering was a little squirrely.  Noticing a rain front was coming in, Bill tested the windshield wipers.  Oops, they don’t work!  Great… not going any farther, we’ll just be boondocking at Meijers tonight.

Bill woke early Sunday morning as he always does.  Something was telling him to look at the weather radar.    We had two hours to get motivated and beat the nasty storm that was quickly building to the West.  No windshield wipers, I need to wake up fast, Ugh. With fifteen minutes to spare we headed South out running the storm front covered in red.

We didn’t talk much as we approached Southern Ky and Jellico Mountain.  The tension was building and we were both very nervous.  Would Dotty make it up the mountainside? We were gonna find out.  Well, she did.  A big 50 mph all the way up the hill.  Not fast but she made it.  It was a big sigh of relief when we got to the top.  We took a small break at the Tn. Welcome Center, which was very crowded.  Dotty was starting to draw attention from travelers.  People are eager to ask all sorts of questions about her.  She is one of a kind.

Down the mountain, she came with her sails a flying.  She had Bill a little panicked, I tried not to pay attention.  I was thinking to myself, “He’s one hell of a driver”.  I don’t know why we were so nervous, he’s driven in some of the most God awful weather conditions while expediting.   We swallowed hard and drove down the mountain.

Off to another cheap night of camping at the Flying J, south side of Knoxville, Tn.  The temperature was high, in the low 90’s.  It was not comfortable. All the windows open, we were sweat’n puddles.  Bill takes a look at our cat, Mel, and decides it’s too hot for her.  He plugs the fan into the inverter and places it on the floor facing the cat.  Well hell…It’s gonna be a great night.

It was a hot, sticky, crappy night.  Along with the heat, we had to listen to young’ns racing their hot rods up and down the street.  We won’t be staying at that Flying J again, travelers beware!

With less than a fulfilling night sleep,  we woke on Monday morning ready to get to Warner Robins, Ga.  and see the family.  Traveling was uneventful until we caught up to a major traffic jam in a Resaca, Ga.  Miles, upon miles of traffic, creeping ever so slowly down the interstate.  An hour and a half later and six miles down the road, we made it to the closest exit in Resaca.  Now how are we going to get around this mess, Google it!!  Looking at the routes, we chose Hwy 41 to get us through Atlanta.  Now, this is not a quick route, but it’s better than sitt’n in traffic.  We burned a couple of hours going through small town after small town.  Finally picking up I-75 South, we managed to pick up speed and making it to Warner Robins around 8pm that night.

What a ride, what a trip.  We’re we crazy to take a 1975 Motor Home on a 1000 mile trip South?  Part of me says “yes” but part of me says, “I would do it again.”  The stress was worth seeing the family and grandkids.  You can’t put a price on that.

A Weekend of Visits, Boondocking and Repairs.

Time to play catch up in the world of blogging.  We’ve been busy the past couple of day, bust’n butt getting Dotty ready for our first boondocking experience.  We also made a mad dash to say goodbye to friends and family over the weekend.  Friday was laundry and shower day while we still had water access.  Writing our list and checking it twice making sure we didn’t leave anything behind and thanking Bob for putting up with us over the past couple of weeks.

So heading out early Saturday morning, traveling north, to Madison Heights, Mi. for a goodbye breakfast with dear long-term friends, the Wagner’s, and their brood.  Jeff is another good friend who has always helped in times of need.  He was the first person to offer help when this journey started.  We appreciate all you’ve done and offered to us over the years.  Keep that steel polished and well oiled, Jeff, and hugs to you and yours.

Heading back to home base it was dinner with, Mom.  It’s been years since Bill and I have had contact with his Mother.  It sure was nice to spend a couple of hours catching up on life and having a wonderful steak dinner.  We love you and promise to be in contact more often even if we are miles away.

First night boondocking wasn’t as restful as we would have hoped it to be.  We pick a less traveled parking lot with a Dollar Tree store (we needed more plastic containers).  I spent an hour playing, stakeout, looking out the windows watching the police patrol the strip mall.  I thought to myself, “How long will it be before we get a knock on the door?”  Not interested, we never got that knock.  The next morning we woke up to McDonald’s coffee, not a McDonald’s fan, but  I never knew I could appreciate McDonald’s, however,  I will say they have damn good coffee.

Next day, Sunday, more family visits, my son Ray, who I will miss dearly and Bill’s brother, Dougie.  Dougie’s visit was exceptionally nice and entertaining.  Bill’s sister, Marge, and niece, Kristin also dropped by.  We enjoyed all their company and were glad we were able to see them before we left for the road.

The evening was spent with Pops and his wife, Wanda.  We went to dinner at a local diner and had a very pleasant visit while giving the waitress a hard time.  Don’t worry, she got a fat tip for putting up with us, cha-ching.

Another night of boondocking, this time at the ol’trusty Wal-Mart parking lot.  Low and behold, there’s a Tim Horton’s next store.  Gotta look out for those coffee spots since we’re without shore power.  I don’t think Wal-Mart would appreciate us building a campfire to heat water in their parking lot.  It would draw a lot of attention.

Well, in between all the visiting, we managed to get someone to look at Dotty’s suspension. She is ass end heavy and needs new shocks and a rear seal replacement. We went to a local RV repair shop under the recommendations of a national RV chain store.  Now here is some cool advice for those looking for repairs on your campers/vans.  Make connections with a good honest mechanic, ask around, get advice, this relationship is priceless.  We received the estimate for repairs at $1600.00.  Ummm…not gonna happen.  So, what to do, what to do?  Our first thought was to call our long-time diesel mechanic to ask for advice.  Happens… that they are willing to do the work and can get us in tomorrow.  Whoohoo!!

One more night boondocking in amongst the semi-trucks, buses and dump trucks, lol.  Don’t think anyone will find us after being locked in the yard at the repair shop.  Parts already delivered, repairs start yearly in the morning.  Should have a good night sleep tonight.  Keeping our fingers crossed.  Eight o’clock comes early, looking for freshly brewed coffee with the staff at DRS.

The Big Truck has Sold…Thank You DRS.

Our big truck finally sold two days ago.  It was one of those things that caught us off guard.  It was up for sale for about a month.  We weren’t expecting to sell it anytime soon.  We were at a stand-still.  Everything depended on her selling, ‘Ling Ling’, our 2006 Sterling, 40-foot box truck.  She gave us a lot of memories.  I explained in previous posts that my husband, Bill, and I were expediters.  We lived in that truck, equipped with an 8×8 foot sleeper, for five years.  We traveled the whole country delivering on-demand freight for all kinds of businesses and in all kinds of weather.  It was now time for a change.  Sell her off and change our lifestyle.  It was a hard decision but we were ready.  The expediters lifestyle is tough and we were burned out.

This post isn’t all about the memories or sad feeling having to sell ‘Ling Ling’.  I really wanted to thank the great people of Diesel Repair Specialists, Beki, Tim and the crew, for always being there when the truck needed repairs and we needed advice.  Their team always did a top job and got us back on the road as quickly as possible.

It was Beki’s efforts that sold our 2006 Sterling.  She is one hell of a person and has always cared about her customers, that being us.  So this is our “Thank You” DRS for all you have done to make our expediting adventures over that past seven years memorable.  We will not forget you.

 

P.S.  I got your message about the postcards, I will be sending only the cool ones.  🙂

Best Friends Make Everything Better

We made it up the highway around fifteen miles to our next destination, to best friend Bob’s house…

After the home sold we made a mad dash to load up our belonging into the motorhome and be on our way.  Our first stop wasn’t far.  Packed to the gills, camper squatting like an s.o.b., we made it up the highway around fifteen miles to our next destination, to best friend Bob’s house.  Bob has been a close friend of my husband for years, way back to the high school days.  The carefree days of immense trouble making.  Like I said, a really close friend.

Bob offered his driveway for us to park Dotty and get our bearings straight.  We needed time to adjust to the new accommodations, check out all thing mechanical and throw more stuff way.

First on the list was shore power.  It works like a champ.  We plan to purchase a small microwave to use when power is available.  Our hope is to install a couple of solar panels to use on such occasion when we are boondocking.  Next issue is the classic refrigerator.  It’s in great shape but doesn’t run and if it did it would be a power-hungry whore.  Think we will be removing it and purchasing a 12 volt to put in its place.  We’ll also have more space for dry good storage above it.  There is plenty of projects to keep us busy for the next couple of weeks.  The more we assimilate to camper living the more we will be ready to head out down the highway when the time comes.

And as always, thank you, Bob, for letting us intrude in your living space.  We will always be grateful for your help.