Thursday, October 27, 2016

North and South Carolina

For October it was surprisingly busy, but not too noisy. In fact we're liking it so much we're considering extending our stay for a few more days.

South, South ever South.
For almost 25 years I traveled from Maryland to Norfolk VA frequently. I worked on Navy ships and that's where the Navy kept them. At first I used to drive I95/I64 but with all the traffic around Washington DC it soon got old.
Our first major tunnel. The Hampton Roads tunnel to Norfolk
One trip I took with a co-worker and he suggested Rt3/301/17. I'd never been that way before but it turned out to be an excellent low traffic alternative. The only downside were the country cops who made a living off sailors from Norfolk going home at the weekends. At that time the roads were mainly 2 lane and the speed limit 55. If you went 60 there was a good chance of getting a speeding ticket. I paid my fine and slowed down!

Now that route is even nicer with 4 lane roads and 60 for a speed limit. The traffic thru Waldorf MD has got worse, but the cops are still looking for revenue!

We decided to stay at the Thousand Trails Chesapeake Bay Park in Gloucester VA. Just off Rt 17, it was a quiet and picturesque place but busy due to their weekend Halloween activities for kids. And for us it was FREE!

The boat launch at Chesapeake Bay RV Park
We posted our location on FB and a couple of friends from the San Diego Shanty Shakers RV club told us they too were in Virginia so we hooked up for lunch and chatter in Petersburg VA near Richmond. We caught up with news, talked over journeys and had a great time but as we were heading in opposite directions we had to break up the party and wish Bruce and Sue pleasant travels.

Bruce, Sue, Barbara and I doing the selfie thing
Although we have been to this area many times in the past we had never stopped at the Yorktown Victory Center, to pass a few hours we decided to rectify that. We had seen an ad in a local newspaper saying that this week was the 235th Anniversary of the Battle of Yorktown which effectively ended the Revolutionary War. There were special ceremonies and free admission.
Yorktown Victory Center
Well turns out that the ceremonies were not at the Victory Center but in the town of Yorktown. We had our National Parks passes. Except that this was a Virginia State facility not a National Park, so we had to pay anyway. We did get a Senior Discount though!

The "Doctor" explains Revolutionary War medicine
We continued on Rt 17 and crossed the State Line into North Carolina. In some construction we were following the posted 35mph speed limit and hit an unmarked severe bump that bottomed out the suspension on the rig breaking the weld on the bike rack, thanks VDOT!

A dramatic moment in the birth of Elkdom
We'd planned on staying at the New Bern Elks Lodge who have electrical hook ups, they also helped me find a local steel fabricators who could help fix the rack. Not only that but they told us we were welcome to have dinner with them that night at their “Meatball Cook Off”, the next night at their “Elks got talent” show and we could come in to the Lodge Sunday and watch the US Formula 1 Grand Prix on their 60” TV! Which we proceeded to do. We were “adopted” by a very friendly group and seated at their table each night. They introduced us to EVERYONE (so many we can't remember all the names). This is what being an Elk is all about, and we've found it in so many Lodges we've been to.

We got the bike rack repaired and I moved the brace I'd put in in order to strengthen the joint that broke. I “adapted” this rack to carry Barb's 3 wheeler and my own bike from a 2 bike rack that came with the rig. It's been great for 3 years and almost 30,000 miles, but that bump on 17 was just too much for it. Hopefully it will last a few years longer.
Fixed bike rack
Small stay to the left relocated for strength.
 We visited the “palace” in New Bern, which was the Governor's Palace when Britain ruled North America. Quite an interesting place but not original as it burned down many years ago and the present building was put up in the 1950's.
The Governor's Palace New Bern

Regal Palace gates

The Regal seal of King George

Tour guide in period costume
After lots of walking we decided that a cold beer was in order. We made our way to the local bar that had micro brews on tap. Disaster! It was closed on Tuesday! As we turned to leave a familiar couple came walking towards us. Chris and Cheri, who are know throughout the RV world for their great website and blog.
Cheri, Chris and Barbara
They are computer professionals who work and live on the road full time. They develop websites and apps and test computer and smart phone equipment then publish their results for our education. Thanks to them we set up our internet connection, phone booster and TV streaming system and got the T Mobile phone we used for internet and phone access in Canada.

The last time we saw them was in Vermont at the Escapees Rally earlier this year and in Tucson last year. What a small world! We chatted briefly, promised we'd add a link to their blog on our blog (Which we did, look at the right side of the screen) and found another bar with decent beer that was open on Tuesday. Thanks Prohibition Speak Easy!
Must be in the South, Spanish Moss in the trees.

Federal style houses New Bern
One last breakfast with the Elks then we set off South again. Now we're in Myrtle Beach SC to meet Barbara's cousin Helen and our old Maryland friend Barry.

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