Happy Holidays and Heading South…

Jacks were up and we were on our way to Ephrata PA by 10am.  Well – first we needed to dump and take on water, so we plugged Surf and Stream CG into the GPS.  That should sound familiar to my longer term readers – as we stayed there for 2 weeks in Aug 2015.  They allow you to dump and take on water for a $5 fee – not bad at all. Location wise, we loved it, but it was one of our least fav CG’s.  It does seem like they are trying to clean it up a bit, which was nice to see.  Bill pulled us into one of their pull-through spots; he fairly quickly had us back on our way.

Our drive to the Elks Lodge was easy peezy!  Bill got us parked and we were set-up in no time!  Next order of business was going to pick up Billy.

Love seeing the horse and buggy parking at the local Walmart!

Our time in PA went by too quickly.  We spent quality time with Billy for the holidays and also got in some friend time too!  I drove up to Exeter Township  (about half hour away) to meet my friend, Julie, for our usual breakfast at Effie’s.  I LOVE their home fries!  Another day we caught up with Nancy & Neil, fellow RV Dreamers, for lunch.  We met at JoBoys in Lititz and enjoyed yummy BBQ! Of course, a stop in Lititz wouldn’t be complete without running into Wilbur Chocolate for a sweet treat!  Hopefully we will see them again in FL!

The very BEST part of our time back in PA was having our son stay with us for Christmas Eve, all Christmas Day and most of the day Monday.  We enjoyed a quiet holiday, just the 3 of us – and Callie of course!

Our traditional Christmas morning breakfast – baked French toast and bacon!

Monday morning, Bill officially became a member of the Ephrata Elks Lodge!  Now we can stay at any Elks Lodge in the US that allows RV parking.   Billy and I ran to Walmart while Bill was taking care of that.

The following morning, we used the Lodge’s sewer vent/clean-out to dump our tanks and Bill backed up to the building (I told you last time – he’s an awesome “backer-upper”!) to take on enough water to get us to FL.  We hit the road about 9:30am – about half hour later than we planned.  I attribute that to the extra manuevering it took Bill to get us out of our spot.  We had to back up off the gravel area and onto the soft muddy earth to swing it and then had to get out and smush back down the mud ruts with our feet.  We didn’t want to leave a mess!  

Getting some water for the road!
Crossing the Susquehanna River

My biggest cooncern about the drive was getting around Baltimore and Washington DC areas.  We’ve gotten caught in traffic going to BWI (Baltimore airport) before and also going around DC and it can be BAD!  I did consider going down Rt81 instead but I was concerned about weather and the possibility of snow in higher elevations; I felt like we’ve had enough of that recently!  I also looked into heading more east and maybe through DE, but Philly area can also be a mess!  Our timing hitting Baltimore and DC areas was as good as it could get, unless we went in the middle of the night – NOT!  Much to my happy surprise, we got past with no issues at all!  

My excitement was short-lived however, when traffic built up and came to a nearly stand still for most of VA!  Crazy thing is there wasn’t any reason except volume – no accident, no construction lane closures – nothing!  

Our stop for our first night was a Walmart in Rocky Mount NC.  There was already a rig there and parked, obviously spending the night, so we pulled up near them.  We got Callie inside and then walked over to see if we needed/wanted anything from Walmart.  Bill picked up some DEF and a couple other things.   We like to get something when we stay at Walmarts – it’s the right thing to do!  

The following morning, we were up and out early – the landscapers made sure of that!  They were leaf-blowing before the sun was up!  Seriously!?!  I know it’s the risk you take at a Walmart or other similar place, so can’t really get too upset about it.  Here’s the thing – we’ve also stayed at CG’s that had early morning landscapers – ok – maybe not pre-dawn ones – but I’d be REALLY annoyed if I was paying – call it $25 a night – and I heard a leaf-blower even at 8am!  

Our drive through NC was pleasant and we stopped for lunch in the “World Famous South of the Border!” – ha! Bill and I both remember stopping there with our families when we were kids, it was always exiting to stop there – all the lights and shops with Mexican themes!  We continued the tradition with our own kids – our son especially liked it b/c he could get fireworks!  

There was more stop/go traffic waiting for us in SC – again – no reason other than volume!  There were lots of RV’s of all shapes, sizes and colors!  The mass exodus from the north was in full swing!  

We pulled into a Cracker Barrel in Kingsland, GA fairly early, knowing prime spots would get taken if we didn’t.  We set up on the back edge of their large parking area (we are way too long for their designated “RV/bus” parking spots).  I made sure Callie was fed and had plenty of water – then we headed inside for our dinner!  The manager was very happy to have us stay overnight and got us seated right away.  Love their pot roast!  

We watched a bit of TV before bed and could hear a bunch of other rigs pulling in.  When we woke in the morning, there were 5 others parked with us!  We opted to get going early and not go in for breakfast, I wasn’t hungry at all after cleaning my plate at dinner!  

We had been warned that Jacksonville traffic could get bad – even taking the 295 loop – so I spent some time with my friend, the Rand McNally Atlas and decided to go completely around!  We exited Rt95 onto RtA1A/200 toward Callahan.  We picked up 301 south and followed it into Ocala, where we hopped onto 75.  Again – we saw lots and lots of RV’s!  Just never ceases to amaze me how fast people will drive while behind the wheel of these HUGE vehicles!  Bill mostly sits in the right lane and does 62’ish – and we get passed like we are standing still!  It’s so unsafe!  

We arrived and checked in by about 1:30 – not too bad!  We knew we would be on an “overflow” spot since I didn’t make the reservation until July – yes – the nicer spots fill up that early!  Neither one of us was too happy about that, and we had hoped a cancellation would land us on an actual site.  What we didn’t realize is the advantage of being in overflow is these sites aren’t metered like an actual site – so it’s not so bad!  They don’t meter you when you stay less than a month – but we will be here through Feb 1.  

So here we are – finally in warmer temps! We are loving that!  It’s been warmer here than we’ve seen in a LONG time!  I have to get my capris and shorts out from under the bed!