We drove another two hours north to the Osceola National Forest and found a spot deep in the woods by the West Tower Forest. The No-Seeum bugs are pretty brutal here. They love to get under things like your watch band or hat brim or shirt collar or bra strap and start biting. And usually you don’t even know they are biting you until it’s too late. They are pretty much like the Blackflys of the Adirondacks but with a different name. Either way, I hate them…..very much. We spent two days there and I have enough welts on my body to be mistaken for someone with chicken pox. We were able to climb that tower, which was pretty cool and scary at the same time.
We stayed two nights at the National Forest Spot but being in the woods takes it’s toll on the solar power plus it’s been cloudy these past two days and also there’s a big storm coming our way so we headed out for another 2 hour drive but this time to an RV park. Greg is down to his last shirt. So laundry is a must. We found a place in Georgia called the Walk About. It’s a nice place. They even have a petting zoo.
The showers were great and the laundry room looks brand new. They have a nice clubhouse too with a big screen TV and a fire stick to watch Netflix or Utah with a full kitchen in there as well. We spent some time in the club house as the No See Ums are just as bad here as they were in the National Forest. We thought we could outrun them. The temperature is suppose to take a nose dive the next few days so hopefully that will do the trick and get rid of them. Check out tomorrow is at 11.
Supposed to rain most of the afternoon. Maybe we’ll go to a mall or a movie or something. We’ll see what tomorrow brings. We have been listening to the audio book of Nomadland this past week. It’s much different than the movie but really goes into detail about the life of the Vandweller. I would recommend it if you like reading.
We decided to head to head to Savannah Georgia for the day. The last time we were here was 5 or 6 years ago and we really loved it. This time around we researched in the IOverlander app what was available in terms of stealth camping in this city. We found a spot in the tennis court parking lot of the Forsyth Park which is about 2 miles from the River Walk and Marketplace area. So we parked the van found a nice corner spot. There were 3 or 4 other VanDwellers in the lot and then regular cars as well of people just enjoying the park. Suddenly above the tennis courts, these sirens start BLASTING!!! And at that same moment an alert comes on both of our phones about a Tornado warning.
Immediately I start panicking and yelling at to RUN TO THE COFFEE SHOP!!!! I just start running in the pouring rain without even grabbing my rain coat which was right there by the door. We get to the coffee shop soaking wet and panicked and the alarm is still BLASTING!!! It was soooo loud. The girl at the coffee shop was asking what I wanted to drink. And I’m like….” Are you kidding me? That’s a tornado warning!!!” Shouldn’t we be doing something? And she casually says, that’s the first time I’ve ever heard it so I’m not sure. And then asks me again what I’d like to drink. I look around and no one in the coffee shop seems to even be phased by the extremely loud blasting tornado horns. There was a group of like 8 coffee drinkers sitting by the huge window completely unphased by what was happening outside. meanwhile everyone’s phones are making that ridiculous emergency alert noise. I can’t even believe how calm everyone was. It was really scary!! I don’t understand why no one else was scared but me and Greg. I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone!! So I just did what has always worked in the past and ordered a peanut butter banana shake and slowly calmed down. The warning eventually switched to a watch and the rain and wind calmed down along with my heartbeat. I hope I never experience that again in my lifetime.
The sun eventually came out and we took a nice walk down to the River Walk and had some Oysters and Crawfish.
While we were down there a giant ship passed by.
There are so many saxophone street performers in Savannah.
We stayed overnight and then spent the whole next day walking around Savannah again. There’s so much to explore there. I went to Mass on St Joseph’s Day at this beautiful Cathedral. Then we went to the open Marketplace and had lunch at a Poke Bowl spot. poke is sort of like Sushi but in a bowl. Then we picked up my favorite cookies from Byrds Bakery. We then sat in the park again by the fountain and did some people watching. Then we checked the weather and saw a cold front coming. It would be dropping into the low 40’s for the next couple of nights so we decided to hit the road.
We left late in the evening and really had no plans, just slowly creeping our way North. Decided a spot at The Pilot Travel Center would be fine so we stopped there just over the border into South Carolina.
Showered and well rested, we did some research on all the great apps we have and found another free spot another couple of hours north in the Santee Coastal Reserve. This place has lots of trails and is wide open for camping. There’s a lot of history here as well being this used to be an old plantation.
We decided to stay a few days here. Our first day was kind of crappy weather. Raining off and on and cold. We did a couple of hikes and bike rides in between the rain but it was nice too to just sit around and watch a few videos.
There’s also plenty of firewood here so we had a nice fire to keep warm.
Now that we are out of Florida, it seems way easier to find open camping spots at the State Parks so we booked two nights at the Myrtle Beach State Park Campground. The Florida State Parks seem to be filled, people make their reservations for the Florida State Parks like 11 months in advance. We were lucky to even have gotten the spots we did.
We have been at the Myrtle Beach State Park before, I think in 2018 or 19. It’s a great park. They have an amazing Nature Center with so many bird feeders and tons of birds. Last time we were here we didn’t have the bikes. This is definitely a park where you need bikes. We explored every trail they offered plus even rode the bikes to town to go to the movies. Definitely a bike friendly town where we were and also a very dog friendly town. I think it was called the Market Center where we went exploring. Looked like a fun place to live. The beach here is a part of the State Park as well and once again we were impressed with the amount of shells on the beach.
We woke up for a beautiful sunrise. I’ve also been enjoying all the planes that fly overhead on their way into or out of the airport here. Yesterday, the F-16 were flying low right above us. I could watch that all day.
Today we are heading out to Mikes Farm which is a Harvest Host Location in North Carolina. We had a little bit of a commotion this morning at the campground. When I was walking back to the van this morning after visiting the ladies room, the lady next door came outside to me and said that yesterday while we were out, 2 Carolina Wrens were flying in and out of the grill of the van working diligently on building a nest. I thanked her and said I would take a look. I couldn’t believe my eyes. They almost had a complete nest built right in the air intake hose. Thank God she told us that would have been disastrous. It took us forever to remove the nest. We had to use the kitchen tongs and also broke out the air compressor to blow out whatever was left behind. It was a ridiculous amount of leaves and twigs that these two birds brought in there. After we cleaned it out completely we covered the grill with one of our rugs so they would stay out. About 10 minutes later they were back squawking and annoyed that they could no longer get in. Then we noticed they started building a nest on the neighbors RV. Right on the part where the slide comes out. We left a note for them and hopefully they were able to take care of it.
After we left the State Park we drove to North Myrtle Beach and drove past the Condos where Greg used to live when he was performing at the Hilton many moons ago. Myrtle Beach is much more built up now but he still was able to recognize his condo and the pool and all that. It’s amazing how the memories come back all these years later.
So now let me tell you about Mikes Farm, the Harvest Host location we are staying at tonight.
This is definitely my favorite Harvest Host location. This used to be a tobacco farm like many of the farms in this area and then it became a Christmas tree farm and now it’s more of a holiday farm and community farm. There are several large barns in the property. One was a huge gift shop with all North Carolina goods for sale. Just calling it a gift shop is an injustice. It was absolutely beautiful in there. Nothing like your typical gift shop.
After dinner we found a spot to park the van for the night off to the side a bit over by some antique tractors.
Then we went over to check out some of the farm animals. So many cool looking goats and a couple of cows that are called Oreo Cows. I have never seen this kind of cow before. I wish I would have taken a picture. There also was a beautiful peacock.
The restaurant was non stop people all night till about 8:30. This place is a gold mine. A well oiled machine. After we digested the dinner, we visited the bake shop and Greg had a piece of 7 layer cake with salted caramel as the icing. I couldn’t eat another bite but boy did that cake look good.
Once the restaurant closed we had the whole farm to ourselves. I tried sending the drone up by we were in a no fly zone in the edge of an airport so the drone won’t even start in that situation without an authorization code from the airport. I wish I was able to send it up to give you guys a better understanding on the size of this farm and barns. We had a nice peaceful rest here and were in no rush to leave. We visited with the animals again and bought some Carolina Coffee Beans to take with us in the road.
Then we headed out around 12:30 or so. We had a super short drive, maybe 40 minutes to the town of Kinston. There is a nature Center here with a campground that offers primitive camping for 10 bucks. Plus the nature center and the planetarium on sight are free. It’s a pretty nice place. Friendly people and it’s right on a river. The Nature center has a cool bird named Oliver. We got him to sing Happy Birthday for Kenny’s birthday on March 26th.
We decided to stay a second night and wanted to explore this town a little more. This is a big Civil War town. The river that we are currently camping on was part of some major battles during that war. They have a huge museum here dedicated to the battles from here including the Navy ship that was built in 1862 right here in this town. It got stuck on a sand barge on this river and now sits in this giant museum. They also have a replica of the ship to explore as well. It’s a cute little town. If you have ever watched the show called The Chef and The farmer on PBS, well this is where that restaurant is located.
After our long day exploring in town, we rode the bikes back to the campground and started getting warnings on the phone about severe thunderstorms. So we ate a quick dinner, did the dishes and prepared for the storm. Brought everything inside, covered the bikes and then waited and watched the radar. It was a DOOZY of a storm. Actually it was two storms coming together right above our heads. The lightning was sooo intense. It was a little scary but not as bad as those tornado alarms going off in Savannah.
Next day we decided to head a little further north but not too far cause the weather is about to get cold again. So we did a short hour drive to a nice State Park just outside of Raleigh NC.
Being on the road has been so awesome. We have learned so many little tricks. One good tip is after you shop, break down all the boxes, take the chicken out of the styrofoam containers and separate them into meal sized portions and put in ziplocks. Same with snacks. Greg eats a lot of cake, Little Debbie cakes are his favorite, so when we go to the Dollar Store, he will load up on the cakes and when we get to the van, he takes all the cakes out of the boxes and into his snack bag they go. This saves us a ton of space, plus we can throw out all the trash while we are still there at the store.
Ok, so heading North was probably not a good idea. Woke up to temperatures in the 30’s. It’s so hard to get out of the sleeping bag when it gets cold. We ordered a Webosto Diesel Heater which we are going to install in a few weeks but until then we have a Mr Buddy Propane heater that we basically never turn on. We also have the regular Van heat but we never turn that on either. so I guess we shouldn’t complain about the cold. Lol anyway, my point was that we started heading North a little too soon so after spending the night at Medoc Mountain we turned the van around and drove back south. We found a National Forest on the NC shores. It’s called Croatian National Forest. We got a spot for two nights at the Flanners Beach Campground for $15 a night with electric. The best part of having electric at a campsite is we get to use the drip coffee pot and the electric kettle. Such luxuries!!
It’s a great campground overlooking the water but the beach is closed because of Hurricane Damage but still even without the beach, it’s a nice campground with nice bathrooms and showers. The skies are blue and life is good.
Some crappy weather heading our way, Big big storms with lots of wind and cold temperatures. We both decided to treat ourselves to a fancy hotel suite for the night. This place is without a doubt the fanciest place I have ever stayed in. It was HUGE. All for $108. Worth every last penny. The town was fun as well. Morehead City was the name of the coastal town. Good town for walking around and great Oysters as well.
Checked out at 11 and so glad we didn’t stay in the van last night. It was FREEZING out there and super windy. We are actually thinking of doing a second night in a different hotel, different town. It’s not camping weather, even for diehards like us. I’ll leave you with some photos of our awesome room at the Belk Hotel.
Look at that, it’s the end of March already. Time to post what we’ve been spending on lodging and gas. This months totals are $467 for lodging and $252 on gas. Worth every penny and loving every minute. For those following along or maybe want to live this kind of VanDwelling lifestyle one day, here’s our basic expenses since we have been on the road so far.
1st number is gas and 2nd is lodging/camping
November Didn’t keep track of gas. $153 lodging
December $122 $224
January $411 $260
February $268 $501
March $252 $467
Let’s see what April brings besides more showers.