Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Ocean Isle, Myrtle Beach and Orlando

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.

Barry and Barbara spending time.
Barry is a good friend from our motorcycling days back in Maryland. We had a great group of friends in Maryland Chapter J of the Gold Wing Road Riders Association (GWRRA) and we were continually going out for ice cream, breakfast or dinner somewhere. Barry has been a wonderful source of jokes and good humor. About the time we moved to California, Barry moved to Myrtle Beach SC.
Drunken Jacks for lunch
After touring his house and admiring his new motorcycle he kindly got us in his minivan and showed us the sights around Myrtle Beach. We bought him lunch at Drunken Jacks as a thank you then continued our tour. The next evening he showed us the local Brewery and introduced us to some of his local Gold Wing friends Frankie and Mike. We had a great time. Thanks Barry!
Lesser known spots in South Carolina
Barbara's cousin Helen lives in North Carolina just ½ an hour North of Myrtle Beach. She had been looking after her grandson Jimmy for a couple of days but when she got home we went up to visit. She lives in a beautiful house on a lake and a golf course and we stayed the night and caught up on family news from UK, US and Canada. Thanks Helen!
Barbara and Helen relax on the patio
We had just got back when friends from 30 years ago contacted us on Face Book and said they were in Florida so how about getting together. What an opportunity to catch up on more news! Jacky and Sharon live in UK but have a place near Orlando too. They thought they would be able to fit our RV in their drive so we changed some plans and decided to make it happen.

On and on! We next found out that more friends from UK were in Florida. Ron and Sue were in Orlando doing Disney World but unfortunately they leave the day we arrive so we probably won't get to see them. Maybe next year when we go to Europe?

There are always choices when you pick routes. Going to Florida the most obvious is I95, but that's just not for us. A much nicer (if slower) alternative is Rt17 which parallels 95 and is for the most part 4 lanes. The occasional town and stoplight don't bother us, and I've learned to keep fairly close to the posted speed limit on these rural roads where the town's Police department pay their salaries with speeding tickets.

The rig has been in dire need of a wash after 6 months without one, and the car is pretty crusty too. Truck washes are the place to wash RV's also. We saw one along the way but after ½ hour of waiting we discovered that they were using the same brushes to scrub all the trucks and the same bucket of soapy water too! They didn't even empty the bucket between vehicles either. So that and the fact they wanted about $75 to wash and wax just the rig had us leaving unwashed.
Blue Beacon truck wash, we're next!
We've used Blue Beacon truck washes several times around the country and been very satisfied with their service. Looking on their app we found there was one 60 miles further south and right on Rt 17! Off we went and got both the car and rig washed and waxed for $63 using pressure washers and an overhead roof sprayer. The wash bay was next to Love's so we filled up, had a bathroom break and then made sandwiches for lunch on the road. Doing everything in one stop is an old long distance driving trick that keeps average speeds up by eliminating several individual stops.

To make up some lost time and avoid traffic in Savannah and Jacksonville we got on I95 (Alright we caved in!). As soon as we could we got on to US1 thru St Augustine to our stop for a couple of night at the Compass RV Park about 4 miles from St Augustine. A nice quiet place that the owners are obviously spending a lot of money on but $60 a night after our Good Sam discount was too rich to stay long.
St Augustine Beach
Near Kissimee we found a Thousand Trails park we could stay at for FREE! Lots of amenities including no license fishing and they are spending like crazy on new water and electrical supplies in the park. Better yet, when we looked up Jacky and Sharon's address it was only 4 miles from them and we were soon catching up on 30 years of news.
Jackie and Sharon
We first met Jacky and Sharon in Holland were Jacky and I worked in the same office designing ships for the Dutch Navy. Jackie was an apprentice in a shipyard in Scotland then hit the trail, freelancing around the globe like myself. In Baltimore Jackie and Sharon were expecting their first child and we were all eating at Bo Brookes Crab House when she went into labor! We share many friends and acquaintances and we've worked in the same places though not always at the same time.
Nice night at the RV Park
We had lots of catching up to do. To help they invited us too stay at their place near Orlando which they rent out to vacationing guests, ( It's a really nice place with a pool, hot tub, multiple bedrooms and a screened in back yard to keep the mosquitoes away. After a few libations to lubricate our vocal cords we were deep into reminiscences.

We reminisced until 1am!
Hanging out at their pool
Next day we spent touring the sights, bars and restaurants nearby, then they came over to our place and we barbecued and reminisced some more. Eventually we caught up, made promises for next year, emptied the cooler, had one last meal together at a nice steak house and departed on our next adventure.

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