We touch The Big Water again

We stood on the sandy shore of the Atlantic Ocean again today. Constant pounding waves. They’ve probably come from Morocco or Spain; we seem to be nearly opposite the Straits of Gibralter.

With the tide out, Ross and Ryan walked on sand that felt like pavement. They were attracted to the sound of the waves, and required intervention immediately after this photo was taken in order to avoid the water that was rushing toward them!

This might have been the first rainy day we’ve experienced since leaving Dayton the day after Thanksgiving! We know, this morning might have been the first sun Dayton has seen in that time.

We went to Huntington Beach State Park, which is located at the end of a short causeway that serves to separate salt water tidelands from a small fresh water lake. Without the rain, we would’ve had some fun bird photos for you. And of the glorious Spanish moss growing on every tree in the park!

We skipped Brookgreen Gardens today because of the rain. The state park is on land donated to the state by the same people who provided the sculptures and impetus for the Gardens, and the crumbled ruins of their former home exist in the park.

Arrived at Buck Hall Recreation Area campground moments before sundown and finished parking in the dark, so have only the barest impression of our surroundings for the next five days. Will tell you and show you more tomorrow.

We moved on….

The Taxi does have wheels at its four corners, not anchors, so we moved on down the road today. With regret….it was a sunny & breezy 72 around noon….

We had originally planned this tour so that we’d use the road closest to the coast, and we’d cover maybe 30-50 miles per day. We’d stop at all the parks, piers, and landmarks. We’d photograph the coast at every opportunity.

HA, plans….who needs them?

First of all, we’ve known for months the Taxi is just not suitable for “nosing around”, because it’s too easy to get boxed in down some small street, not to mention the low wires and branches.

Second, we quickly found this coastline is simply not available to sightseers. Yes, a discreet beach here and there. But even that one we found the first day we were in Cedar Point was sheer luck, in that we could only access the parking lot when it was totally empty…the twists and turns to get into and out of it were challenging even then!

Third, the coastline is sometimes miles from the closest road along the coast, because of the many tidelands or deltas or barrier islands.

Fourth, while we have curiosity about these things, it’s not enough to devote our lives to the quest!

Then there was the matter of the many historic and colorful towns along the way: Wilmington, NC, Myrtle Beach & Hilton Head & Charleston, SC, and Savannah, GA ahead of us. The more we considered what it would take to see these places in the Taxi, and how it would occupy our time, the less inclined we were to see them! It still seems odd to say that. So many people devote their one and only annual vacation to one of these places, and travel a thousand miles to get here.

But this is us. Further, Ross and Ryan become huge factors to arrange any touring more than a short distance from the coach. We considered renting a car for a couple days, but stopped that plan as we considered all the moving and hauling and fetching and pushing.

And as we considered what we really like to do. We like driving through varying countryside, and we like stopping to look at key geographic features, and we like being in fabulous natural beauty.

So it changed our immediate plans: we were going to spend three days getting down to our next campground near Charleston, SC, but we decided to keep driving a bit longer each day and make it in two. Turns out we made it even further this first day (165 miles), which will give us some real time to spend tomorrow at an interesting-sounding sculpture garden and wildlife preserve, Brookgreen Gardens.

Then we’ll arrive a day earlier at Buck Hall (federal) Recreation Area campground, near the little town of Awendaw, SC. It’s much smaller than any other federal campground we’ve visited, but it’s right on the water’s edge along the intracoastal waterway. It stays busy, and we only have reservations for four nights, so we’re not sure how long we’ll actually be able to stay. It has four non-reservable sites, but they could already be occupied by people who want to stay awhile.

So we might stay a bit, or we might move on the day after Christmas.

We should have some fun photos for you tomorrow, from Brookgreen and maybe from Buck Hall.

Out and about

On one of today’s walks (there were five) we visited the lagoon where we’ve captured those fabulous sunsets.

Check out the pelican overhead!

We’ve needed heavy coats for our morning walks….it got down to 28 degrees last night….but just light jackets later in the day. One day last week it reached into the 70s, and we found ourselves working up a sweat on the afternoon hike! Got us to thinking about the weather farther south on this great loop we’ve planned….

It’s been sooooo nice to stay here! Just a handful of other campers in a place with over 40 sites….they help keep the place from feeling abandoned and creepy! It’s actually been quite the opposite, just slightly active every day with someone out and someone in, but a glorious sun doing its low winter arc to the south! The tall trees really let in the sun while adding their long, slender shadows.

We’ve been able to keep our lights dim inside and the shades up….so we can catch every last fading ray of sunset, and catch the first rays of sunrise.

Update on the “booms”

A ranger told us today the booms we heard yesterday were, indeed, from our Marine neighbors. Navy, too.

Their boats were 15 to 20 miles offshore firing into the Marine camp next to us! We were hearing the naval guns firing, then we were hearing multiple-boom concussions as the multi-head projectiles exploded at impact. Sure glad their aim was good….

Just some extra color for our trip south at Christmas time!

Wish we could have pictures to show you!

We’re cooking over a fire

Had fun today with the fire ring behind the coach. We’ve usually had these rings when we park in a campground, but you’ve heard me make fun of our “camping” interests.

You know, how we sit inside the coach when it’s warm….with the air conditioning running and eating ice cream….watching other campers sit around their campfires….while we run our electric fireplace.

We finally hit a sweet spot today. Temps in low 50s, light but steady breeze blowing from coach toward fire ring, and plenty of firewood nearby in the form of old storm damaged limbs stacked along the campsites.

I used my faithful Pathfinder fire starter (nooooo, not white gas, the propane torch) and had nice coals in no time. Then Robyn piled on that gigantic chunk of wood.

She, the seasoned camp cook, got right to work toasting cinnamon swirl raisin bread and hot dogs, and putting in potatoes to bake. We ate like kings.

Listened to huge “boom” sounds all day from nearby Camp Lejeune. Couldn’t tell if the Marines were exploding bombs or firing huge artillery.

Have my field jacket hanging outside all night to get rid of the campfire smoke….

Like there’s no tomorrow

Multiple loads of laundry today, the result of bedtime accidents (punishment for our not getting them up just before we go to bed).

Voila, full holding tank. No problem, just do a circle of the small campground and stop by dump station. Refill on water, too.

Then HAIRCUTS and consequent baths. With the delay between baths (because of haircut), not possible to save warm water from one to the next, so TWO tub baths.

Voila, full holding tank.

Good grief, we act like there’s no tomorrow and all the water must be used now!

Ahhh, life’s little luxuries. And this:

Why we love this place

You’ll recall we started this odyssey in order to move a little each day. See the world around us, a little at a time.

So why choose to stay here more than a week?

A bunch of reasons: nice, clean, open, level campground, and we have it nearly all to ourselves. Ryan seems to have found some kind of holly and there’s a dogwood in the background still showing its fall colors. The temperatures are good: cool in the evening, warm enough in the day (but not too warm). This evening we have Christmas carols on the stereo and our fireplace going.

Those trails we’ve talked about: we walked them alot today (so much, we had to sit and rest for a while) and still haven’t crossed all the bridges across the tidelands! Ross and Ryan really like the bridges, because they have alternating wood and metal panels underfoot.

And we’re situated on a bay so that we have sunsets across the water as though we were on the left coast of this great country instead of the right! Robyn shot this one: