April 15-30. South Carolina and North Carolina

We had the best visit with my cousins. we had a great time visiting the local vineyards with some really good live music.

Today we are going to drive a little bit inland. Get away from the coast and the traffic and the people and find some solitude in the woods. It’s nice that we have so many options.

We found a great state park in Elizabethtown, North Carolina called Jones Lake State Park. The sites were so large, we could’ve fit 5 vans in our site. And the price was right at $22 per night. We practically had the whole place to ourselves so decided to stay two nights.

We found a couple of Harvest Host locations nearby to the State Park so we booked two separate locations. The first one was a Scottish Inn and Winery. A really unique place. We had a nice dinner and an uneventful night on their property. I wish I would have taken a picture of the waitresses. They wear these frocks like back from a hundred years ago and they bring you the salad and then come over and put the salad dressing on the salad in front of you. Then they bring the meal and then come back with a giant bowl of homemade churned butter to put on your potato. The whole thing was just weird. Maybe that’s how they did things back in Scotland.

The second Harvest Host was a place Called Mikes Farm. We stayed here a couple of years ago and loved everything about it. We mark all the locations in Google maps with a note about the place and this was one of those places where the note said to definitely come back again. I remember this place well and was quite impressed by all of it. Before getting to Mikes Farms we made a pit stop at the Cowan Museum in Kenansville, NC. This is probably the best free museum I have ever been in. So many artifacts and antiques of the past with lots of descriptions so you know exactly what your looking at. Plus they had some old old cabins on site that you can walk right in and explore. This right here, is why I LOVE TRAVELING!!! I never would have seen it or even heard of this place if I just stayed on the main highways. When you come off those highways and onto the small roads and the small towns, you find GEMS like this museum.

We basically stayed parked in the shade for most of the day and then headed over to Mikes Farm.

Everything about it is exactly how we remembered it.

In the morning a school field trip loaded in and all of their parents as well. They went in a hayride to the pick your own strawberries. So so many children at 7 o’clock in the morning. Our serene and peaceful farm that we had all to ourselves was now packed with preschool children so we packed up our things and off we went. We found a campground that had 7 open spots for first come first serve so we wanted to get there as soon as possible before those 7 spots filled up, considering it was a Friday. So we arrived and drove around the campground and settled in on site 12. We went over to the host station and filled out our envelope with the $27 dollars and deposited it into the iron ranger. A little way later, the park hosts comes over to tell us that the park is full and that there are no available spots. Apparently they never update the app which is clearly bullish!t. So now we are kind of just sitting around and hopefully waiting for a spot to open up. In the meantime we will call the ranger station and see what they can do about getting our money back.

Many hours later and we gave up on that place and headed to Jacksonville, NC to get the van washed. A huge Osprey pooped all over the van from his nest above us while we were waiting by the boat ramp for word about the camping site. He covered the entire windshield and hood with polka dotted poop. It was so gross. I called the Ranger Station to inquire about getting a refund on the site and I’m still waiting for them to get back to me. In the meantime we decided to stay at the Cracker Barrel tonite. There’s a bunch of wildfires in the area and it’s probably best for us not to be in the woods tonite anyway. We did some shopping at Big Lots and Marshall’s and had a nice dinner at Cracker Barrel. It’s supposed to rain tomorrow so that will help with the forest fires. Plus we’ll maybe go to the movies now that we are in a decent sized town.

We woke up to a beautiful sky, probably because of the nearby wildfires.

We had our tires rotated and balanced at Discount Tire. We had new tires put on last year and with the life of the tires comes free rotation and balance and air checks whenever we want. And there’s always a Discount Tire nearby when we are traveling.

After that we headed to a local park to have some lunch. I made pork tostadas that were delicious.

Soon after that, the rain came so we decided to go walk around the mall for a bit, then we headed to the hospital parking lot for the night. We figured it’s the safest place to be in the case of a tornado passing through. It was a pretty loud and colorful Storm so we were thankful for our spot.

And of course after every storm comes the cold front so we didn’t really want to head any further north so instead we headed to Kinston , NC to stay at the Nature Center and Planetarium. We had been here before so we knew we liked it. What’s not to like? It’s 10 dollars a night with Hot showers and within walking distance of a great town.

We had a nice morning and then headed out to get a little sun on our solar panels. While the sun was doing its job recharging our batteries, we went into the museum to wander around and learn about this town and the giant ship they found in the river from the civil war.

From there we headed about 40 minutes away to the Cliffs of the Neuse State Park. I wish I could explain to you how frustrating the reservation system is in North Carolina. There are like 20 open sites right now but none available to pay for online at Reserve America. The camp host is off on Tuesdays and Wednesday’s so we can’t pay them. The visitor center is closed because of a staff shortage as well as the campground store. There is literally no way of paying for tonight’s camping. So we found a spot and payed for tomorrow using Reserve America and are just keeping our fingers crossed that we can stay tonight. Three or four different Rangers have driven by us and no one has said a word so I’m pretty sure they couldn’t care less. I’m not too worried about it as I still haven’t heard back from Ranger Jackson in regard to getting a refund at the last fiasco of a campground. We have a nice site for the next two nights surrounded by giant trees. We are about to go exploring.

Well the ranger did come in at around 8 pm to collect our money which is fine because we definitely got our moneys worth exploring this state park.

The second night here, it rained all night and into the morning. Because we have been in the woods the last 4 days, our solar panels have not been getting much sun. So last night we lost power to the refrigerator. Greg hooked up the jackery which is our portable battery for situations like this. Today we are heading to a campground with electric to boost up our batteries.

We arrived at the Medoc Mountain State Park around 1 o’clock and someone was still in Site #5. Checkout at this campground is not till 3 pm which is awesome except in situations like this where we have to wait. It wasn’t really an issue as there was a nice picnic area just down the camp road. We parked over there, had a little lunch and went for a hike. At 3 o’clock, we headed back to site 5 and they were still parked there. Can you picture me rolling my eyes? I spoke to the camp host who told me to call the ranger and then I slowly drive past site 5, hoping they see me and they get the hint. And guess what? They did and they came out and apologized and said they would just be a minute. So we parked in the lot next to them and they soon were gone. They actually had another spit at the campground reserved so they just moved to that one. Seems to me they probably should have settled into their new spot way before three but ya never know, maybe their new spot was also occupied until 3. We’ll we finally get settled in and it starts raining and doesn’t stop. So happy for the awning and the ability to open it up. Sometimes we can’t open it because of the wind. But this storm came with no wind so all was well.

Next day we headed out around 1:00 to a laundromat in Roanoke Falls, NC. In the parking lot was a wood burning pizza food truck so we ordered a pizza and got our laundry done.

We plan on staying at the local Cracker Barrel tonight but it’s still too early to head over there so instead we went to a park by a Dammed Lake. The sun did finally come out so we dried off the awning and went on a hike. On The Canal Trail.

Next day we headed to Merchants Millpond State Park. Very woodsy and quiet. No electric at this state park which explains why we were able to get a spot on a Saturday night.

More rain overnight, must still be April. We headed to town to go to the movies. Decided on “Hey God, It’s me Margaret.” For those that don’t know, this was a book in the 70,s that every 12 year old girl read. Atleast amongst my friends. The movie did not disappoint. It brought me right back to my childhood and some great memories living in Old Bethpage. The end of the movie even brought a tear to my eye. A happy tear when Margaret’s prayers are finally answered.

Looks like that’s it for April. April just flew by. Below is the April Calendar of where we stayed and what we spent.

Another two more weeks and we should be back in Raquette Lake for the summer. Slowly making our way north. Almost home.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s