2017 Summer Travels: Spartanburg, Cowpens and Generator Repair


Travel started in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Then to Dan Nicholas Park in North Carolina, to Cummins Atlantic, Spartanburg, South Carolina

Our trip from Dan Nichols County Park to our next stop was only 127 miles, about a two 1/2 hour drive for us since we also stopped for diesel fuel. We wanted to arrive early as our mission for this stop (Thursday, May 4, 2017) was for our generator be repaired.  We were headed to Freightliner in Gaffney, SC, but thankfully, my call ahead sent us down the road to Spartanburg.  They don’t seem to fix “broken” generators at Freightliner, only service them. What a miracle Atlantic Cummins, who does, was close by.

We traveled close to this area a few years ago. We spent a day with Bill’s cousin and her husband, who live near Charlotte, NC. We didn’t write a full blog post about our time there, but what a grand time they showed us by taking us to the Billy Graham museum and property. 

At least we have (free) electricity in the parking lot! And lots of southern hospitality!

Little did we know we would be staying in the parking lot for five nights! They had 50 amp electric, a water spigot nearby to fill up our water tank, but no sewer or dump station. There is a Campers World nearby so it’s free to dump there if you are are Good Sam member.  We were also treated with the very best southern hospitality you can imagine!  We figured this was a good primer to learn how to boondock – that is to camp without any hook ups, like water, electricity and sewer. We can carry our own water and we can live without a sewer hook up comfortably for five days but once we went eight days without sewer (Canal Campground in Land Between the Lakes). But we must have electricity – or a generator (our emergency power station). We have a residential refrigerator that has to be plugged in or have power to keep our food cold!

We can’t say enough good about how we were treated by Cummins Atlantic. Granted, the first phone call there, they said they couldn’t fit us in until May 10. We had hightailed it out of Fredericksburg to get here, get it fixed and start our summer travels. The  good news is that things always work out. We called back later and were told they do take walk-ins so come on in. That gave us the breather we needed to stay in the honeypot Dan Nichols City Park in NC.

At the end of our stay, Bill coined the phrase, they under promise and OVER deliver!  Another customer, who also happened to own a Phaeton like ours, agreed. Truly, it all worked out for both of us.

On Sunday, May 7 when we came home after our walk. We were so excited to see another Phaeton, our model, parked next to us!

So the surprise was how much we came to really like and enjoy this area. First, it is always a bonus to see family. And then to have a fellow blogger/full time RVer, Pam over at Oh The Places They Go, suggested a great history spot to visit was icing on the cake. Oh, that reminds me, no more icing for us, nor cake….but we are getting into the swing of our new plant-based, heart “super” healthy diet. We both feel great in case anyone is wondering!

Day one, Thursday, May 4, 2017: We had reached out to our cousin and meet her in Gaffney. What a bonus and it took our minds off of the fact we may be spending a lot of money on our motorhome….We visited for several hours and really enjoyed catching up, although we saw each other in November at a family funeral. This was more relaxed and focused on each other. While visiting, Bill got a phone call about the diesel and seemed happy.  I think that was when the UNDER promise and OVER deliver theme began!

Day two, Friday, May 5, 2017: Our bus went into the shop for the generator. They only have one Onan Generator technician, so they squeezed us in between jobs. We spent the morning in the customer lounge, waiting to learn our fate while we were trying to figure out our next adventure. They had bottled water and free wifi for us. By noon, we realized we didn’t “pack a lunch” but they came and asked if we needed anything out of our bus. YES, food! I volunteered to be “suited up” in safety gear to go in and pack us a lunch. Bill didn’t think to take a photo. Oh well….

IMG_1177It looked like it would not be fixed today.  The day was overcast (that affects our moods) and we were probably more concerned than we needed to be. We needed a boost then discovered a downtown urban garden, Hatcher Gardens. How quaint! We couldn’t pass it up. It was only about a 20 minute drive. It was very serene, in spite of being a Friday after lunchtime. And it definitely lifted our spirits!

For some reason, after I upload my photos on our TravelAdventures FaceBook page, they disappear off my phone. So if you want to see more pictures – I try to post something every day, “like” us and follow along. Our blogs are running a few weeks behind due to our limited data plan, so it’s usually current with our location. We thought you might like to see the map of the gardens:

Map of Hatcher Gardens. It didn’t look like it was more than a mile trail, so I didn’t turn on our walking app. We really just relaxed as we contemplated our near future. Will we be able to leave tomorrow or not?

What a surprise when we returned “home” to Cummins:

Friday, May 5, 2017. Yep, the generator is out! That’s progress, but…..

The good news was that the only generator technician was able to get it out and diagnosed it. The bad news was that he needed a part, but the part would arrive Monday. And more bad news. He was working on another generator on Monday and didn’t think he could get to it. AND we had been prepared that he had to take Tuesday off for a pre-arranged day off. So now it seemed it would be Wednesday before it would be finished – and that was if the diagnosis was correct. We liked how forthright they were with us and pretty much gave us the worst case scenario. Or as Bill said, under promised and over delivered! So we had to make the best of it!

Day 3, Saturday, May 6, 2017. We really liked the road system around Spartanburg. It is a small town, but being a “hub” city, it is very updated. We really wanted to go to the mountains for a hike. But it looked like they were too far.  Pam knew of our dilemma and our love of history. She recommended we visit Cowpens National Battlefield. It was a 45 minute drive through lovely rolling hills country.

Saturday, May 6, 2017. Well marked entrance.

There is a rather small but effective Ranger Station upon entry. This is a fee free national park, but donations were taken. They offered two short movies about the battle and had several displays. The first movie was about to start and was 13 minutes long. It was a “light” show so we declined as we were told the other movie was going to start in a few minutes and lasted 10 minutes. This movie was the historical perspective of the battle. We wandered around the museum and I had to chuckle at this:

Nice displays inside where we also watched a 10 minute movie. Some things never change as depicted on this poster. This was also common during the Civil War – and in today’s times. Who said “fake news” was a new phenomenon? You’ll note in the quote below why this made me chuckle about this gallant British Col. Tarleton.

This was really a remarkable battle and was the turning point in the Revolutionary War. It helped boost the confidence of the rebels, or Americans, and helped defeat Great Britain. Here is an interesting click this link to the website to get all the facts, but I will highlight a few pertinent facts:

At the Battle of Cowpens in South Carolina on January 17, 1781, during the American Revolutionary War (1775-83), American troops under Brigadier General Daniel Morgan (1736-1802) routed British forces under Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton (1754-1833).

After taking command of the battered American army in the South, Major General Nathanael Greene divided his forces in December 1780, with one command led by Brigadier General Daniel Morgan (cousin of Daniel Boone). He moved to attack the British supply lines and stir up support in the back country. Aware the Greene had split his forces, Lieutenant General Lord Charles Cornwallis dispatched an 1,100-man force under Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton to destroy Morgan’s command. A bold leader, Tarleton was notorious for atrocities committed by his men at earlier engagements including the Battle of Waxhaws – which emboldened Morgan’s men.

Riding out with a mixed force of cavalry and infantry, Tarleton pursued Morgan into northwestern South Carolina. A veteran of the war’s early Canadian campaigns and a hero of the Battle of Saratoga, Morgan was a gifted leader who knew how to obtain the best from his men. Rallying his command in a pastureland known as the Cowpens, Morgan devised a cunning plan to defeat Tarleton, a double envelopment. (I loved that strategy! – Debbie)

Possessing a varied force of Continentals, militia, and cavalry, Morgan chose Cowpens as it was between the Broad and Pacolet Rivers which cut off his lines of retreat….

At battle’s end, American cavalry leader William Washington (cousin of George Washington), in mad pursuit of the defiant Tarleton along the Green River Road, engaged the British commander in a dramatic hand-to-hand encounter, in which Washington barely escaped with his life. With the approach of American riflemen, Tarleton abandoned the battle and fled east toward the British camp, never to be caught up with. (This fact caused me to chuckle at the poster in the museum about “exaggerated accounts” by the rebels….clearly Tarleton lost this battle and “fled” the battlefield.)

In the opinion of Supreme Court Justice John Marshall in The Life of George Washington: Commander in Chief of the American Forces, During the War Which Established the Independence of his Country, and First President of the United States. Second Edition: 

Seldom has a battle, in which greater numbers were not engaged, been so important in its consequences as that of Cowpens.” It gave General Nathanael Greene his chance to conduct a campaign of “dazzling shiftiness” that led Cornwallis by “an unbroken chain of consequences to the catastrophe at Yorktown which finally separated America from the British crown.”

Bill heading out the walk. It was with reference we walked these grounds, being in awe of what it took to build this great nation into an independent nation with the best Constitution this world has ever seen! At least, that’s my (Debbie) opinion since I swore to uphold the Constitution and did so for 20 years….

There were informative historical markers along the battlefield. Love to read about the men who formed Morgan’s militia, from many states: “the two Carolinas, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland and Virginia….They camped out nearby without tents as they nervously awaited the dawn.”

This gives another overview: “The Green River Road, which evolved from an Indian trail to a colonial trade route, played a fundamental role in the Revolutionary War….”

We like to keep ourselves honest with our walking/hiking! This was a great walk surrounded by nature and the memories of those who fought and gave their lives for this great country.

Day 4, Sunday, May 7, 2017.  It’s Sunday so of course, we went to church. We are never disappointed whenever we join a congregation to worship our Lord and Savior. What a great way to start the week and to put life into perspective. The sermon was “His Story, My Story.” And the “story” on May 7, 2017, was about Abraham, from Genesis 22:1-19. Do you remember when God asked him to sacrifice his son, Isaac? It wasn’t about sacrifice, God didn’t make him do it, it was about obedience. Abraham was willing to do whatever God asked of him. How is our obedience? This sure puts our lives into perspective!

The bonus to this day was that the Governor of South Carolina, Henry McMaster, also attended church this morning – to honor one of its members! A veteran who taught and ran the ROTC program for 25 years at the high school! The Governor’s wife grew up in this church. We all have a story!

Photo by Ken Toney for Spartanburg First Baptist Church and Spartanburg! What a gem we found. Click on the photo to go to their FaceBook page.

After church, we went home for lunch and to decide where to go walk or hike. The closest state park was just a bit too far although it was highly recommended.  It has equestrian trails so we are a bit leery of long walks where we have to share the trail with horses….but maybe next time.

We discovered they have a nice Rail to Trail downtown. We decided to try it and it was good enough. Although I always prefer dirt, my knees seem to be better and not as crotchety! We managed a 4 1/4 mile walk. It was another urban experience and was very pleasant. Loved all the friendly people. I’m sorry we didn’t get a picture of the two of us as a few people commented how “cute” we were! We both had on matching Tilley Hats and sunglasses. Or else the people we just kind to this old couple out for a brisk walk!!! LOL

The town was decorated with 30 or so of these creatively decorated light bulbs, to lighten up the town in an artistically way. I wanted to get pics of some of them when we drove around but couldn’t get a good angle. And then here is this “hot air balloon” one at the start of our walk!

This was actually where we walked to and then turned around. It was about a two mile walk. We added a little more to get over four total miles.

This urban trail has it all!!! There was also a bike rack to rent a bike if you wanted and the roads were marked for bikers. On this trail was a Rail Tail Dog Park and nearby was a skate park.

It was so lovely! In fact, we returned the next day to do it again!

Day 5, 2017, Monday. The night before, our new friend, Larry, knocked on the door when they got home from eating out. We clicked pretty instantly….I finally went to bed while they continued to talk about our motorhomes! Bill said it was 11:00 when he left. So this morning, Larry knocked on the door. I guess he and Bill had more to talk about!!! We were up early hoping we would be done with our repair. Their home was taken in, only needed their diesel worked on, so Bill set up our chairs and they all talked more about our homes! I finally came outside and enjoyed getting to know his wife and two puppies.

The part came in, but the technician had another generator to finish….so it wasn’t looking good. I commented we needed a miracle. So my prayers began. It wasn’t long before their home was finished. Oh no, now we have to wait alone! We were sad to see them go….

We finally got good news. The technician needed another part for the other generator so ours was now up for the repair. Our technical advisor, Amanda, couldn’t guarantee it would be done today. I told her I was praying for another miracle. I had prayed the RIGHT part would come today – how many times is that a problem. So now for it to be done today since he would be off the next day. No need to sit around, so we went back downtown to the Rail to Trail. And pray!

We got the phone call at 4:00!!!  It was finished!!!! And yes, it was a miracle. He not only repaired it, a broken harness, but he changed the fuel pump as well – since the generator was out. It was seven years old as well. We said we were heading back from downtown – so we were all paid up and checked out by about 4:35. They thought we wanted to leave, so they had us parked in a good place to hook up our car. But we don’t drive at night – plus we hadn’t figured out where we were going! Why plan when you don’t know when you’re headed there?  LOL

We hit the road the next morning, VERY happy campers!  It now looked like we would be able to meet friends we met at Fort Pickens. We’ve been near to them, but just not close enough. Maybe it will happen this time….so our next post, heading to Georgia!

We don’t want to minimize the Power of God. Was this worth asking God to perform this miracle? Was it really a miracle? How do you pray for a miracle? (Read about it here.) I speak for myself when I say, God cares about the details in our lives. I have GREAT faith and I turn to Him daily, maybe hourly and sometimes minute by minute. I want to be in constant communion with Him. So I know I surprise Bill every once in a while when I pray some of the things I pray for! I will say this, when Amanda called, she said, “You got your miracle!”

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7 

6 thoughts on “2017 Summer Travels: Spartanburg, Cowpens and Generator Repair

  1. Very happy to hear your repairs worked out and you are on your way to some more adventures!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So glad all worked out with your generator. We always enjoy visiting Gaffney and Spartanburg. I didn’t know about the urban trail. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! We’re grateful it was a minor repair to it! We’ve learned a lot about it-now to keep it maintained properly. We were so pleased so we’ll probably go back for future diesel and generator “tune ups.” We’ve had it done when we’ve come back to Red Bay. But we’re thinking this is our last year to come back here. We’ll see! There are so many places we want to see and this “route” keeps us confined.
      Wish there was a nice Urban trail here in Red Bay! It was so pleasant there. And Hatcher Gardens was so serene!

      Like

  3. I like the way you found adventures during a stressful time. We should all do that more and worry less.

    Liked by 1 person

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