After our two posts on “living the dream” (here and here if you missed them) we came to a crossroads! We want to share not only all the mountain tops, but the valleys we experience. As we mentioned in our last post, we were heading to Wilmington, NC, the elusive Wilmington we should say.
One reason we want to visit, is to see if this could be our future home when we get off the road. But the elusive part is because we haven’t been able to find a place to stay in our motor home. We’ve actually been looking for at least three years – and it has just never been in our travel path. Granted, there is a KOA there, but Bill has a thing against KOA. It’s sad, one manager could spoil it for all others. We never could strike a deal with the one near our daughter ($1,200/month is a bit too much to just “park”) when we said we will be here four to five months a year. The one in Wilmington wanted to charge us $800/month whereas the other RV parks, which are near or on the beach, only wanted to charge us $500/month. We do prefer the lower prices!
We began calling all the RV parks, starting with the one that looks the most desirable, Surf City Family Campground, North Topsail Beach. They only have a Facebook page, from what we saw, it was our kind of RV Park (location location location.) To not drag this out, there was not one RV park that could accommodate our dates and/or our rig. If you are interested in learning more about what is available for camping/RV sites, here is the list we found. Does anyone out there know if any other places? From the RV Parks Reviews website with mileage from Wilmington and ratings:
- Carolina Beach Family Campground – Wilmington, North Carolina (0 miles)
- Wilmington KOA – Wilmington, North Carolina (0 miles)
- Carolina Beach State Park – Carolina Beach, North Carolina (12.76 miles)
- Winners RV Park – Carolina Beach, North Carolina (13.35 miles)
- Fort Fisher Air Force Rec Area (Military FamCamp) – Kure Beach, North Carolina (17.12 miles) Military only
- Oak Island Campground – Southport, North Carolina (21.89 miles)
- Virginia Creek Campground – Hampstead, North Carolina (24.22 miles)
So now what do we do? We have six weeks until we will return to Fredericksburg for Thanksgiving. We don’t want to go too far, but yet, we committed to seeing new places. Our other issue is where will it be good for me to continue my healing? Certainly not a new place to “explore.” We didn’t realize it was a six to eight week recovery! Geez, it was just a hernia – but it was an epigastric hernia, meaning in the middle of my mid-section – in the fold of where I sit!
To us, the first hard decision was we decided we HAD to return to Myrtle Beach – after we said we were done with visiting there. True, we do love it but once we decided it was too far for us to make it our home one day, the joy of traveling there diminished a bit. And perhaps we were still stinging a bit from being evacuated from there last year, during Hurricane Matthew. Perhaps not….
I needed to be able to relax and have an easy to get to and a great place to walk – a place where I can get back to my pace (ideally 15 minute miles) and for five miles. And we needed it to be where Bill could relax as well! We love our grandsons and their parents dearly, but after a month or more, we always need a place to rejuvenate. It’s hard to explain unless you have been there and are our age! The boys are super energetic and we love to rough house with them….need we say more?
We waited to make plans to leave until I saw the surgeon at my two weeks post op appointment (October 4, 2017). We had planned to leave the day after – but I was still having so much discomfort, Bill felt we should give me more time to heal. The doctor then told me the recovery was much longer than we thought – we had it in our heads, two weeks!
Our next hard decision was when should we actually leave – once I felt better. Surprisingly, once I knew it was a long recovery, I relaxed a bit and began to feel a bit better – but it took two days. So now we are at the three-day Federal holiday weekend, Columbus Day. We know those holidays around the Washington, DC suburbs (you’d be amazed that Fredericksburg now seems to be a suburb since so many people commute up there – and I was once one of them) can be. And we prefer Tuesdays or Thursdays.
For some reason, we said, let’s just gamble and go on Monday. (BTW, we are not gamblers. We lose every time.) We prayed and had friends praying for our journey. How bad could it be???? Shall we say, pretty bad and pretty expensive….
When Bill started to empty our tanks, he noticed pretty high winds, 15 – 18 mph and a lot of gray clouds. Those are not ideal conditions to drive a high profile motor home. Hurricane Nate was down in the Gulf of Mexico and aiming at the Florida Panhandle – Gulf Coast region. Apparently, he was blowing up our way! I checked the weather and radar for our journey to Dillon, SC (our destination) and it looked like it would clear up. So off we went….
Wow, we are just sailing down Interstate 95 southbound. We virtually hit no traffic around Richmond, Virginia, nor through North Carolina. We left at 8:30 am. The ETA to Dillon was about 2:00. I had been taking standing breaks every 30 minutes and was feeling good. We stopped a few times so we took little jaunts around the rest areas. We are Praising God and thinking, why not go for the gold? It really wasn’t a hard decision, we decided to pass up Dillon and just head to Myrtle Beach. We’d be there by 4:30. Granted, that’s the rush hour, but we’d endure it to save a day of travel. Ahhh, almost there!
Along we go, humming along. So what that our generator isn’t working – had we mentioned this? What else is new, we spent a small fortune getting it repaired in May. We’ll call the Tiffin Service Center and get them to help troubleshoot it. So we did call and Bill’s biggest fear, our six house batteries are failing! We’d deal with it later as it will be a big expense.
We bought a Tire Pressure Monitor System when we had our blowout in January 2016. Dang thing doesn’t work all the time, so we turned it off since it was beeping beeping beeping from a loose connection….
What could go wrong now? About a football field length ahead of us, we see sparks shooting off of a vehicle. I told Bill slow down, we don’t want to be near it! I think he wanted to pass it because they had just pulled back on the Interstate not to far in front of us and were going slow. But then, they speeded up and next thing we knew, we heard a thump thump – the sound of a flat tire. Then another thump thump thump….
Bill pulled over to the side of the Interstate. And a semi-tractor trailer did the same, behind us. Oh how nice I thought, he could tell we had a problem and wanted to help us. WRONG, he had a flat, too.
I kept an eye on the vehicle that must have dropped something to cause our trouble. They finally pulled over, about 1/4 mile ahead of us. Bill and I got out to see what happened. I went to the front of the bus while Bill went to the back, around our car. I could see our front tire was flat. It was so noisy with vehicles flying by us at 70 (or more) mph by us, but I got his attention to yell it was the front driver side tire. He then saw it was also the driver rear tire.
Then he heard a noise and saw a piece of metal flying.…another truck hit it and it flung near Bill. It was probably part of u-bolt on a trailer. It was sheared off. That was the only thing on the road, so we surmised that was what we ran over. And it turned out, the semi-tractor trailer had done the same thing. He only had one flat we later learned, while we had at least two.
So now what to do? I wanted to go get the info from the driver of the vehicle that caused our flats. But we had to start making phone calls first. While I called our insurance company, GEICO, Bill began calling tire shops in the Dillon area, yep, we had just passed our planned stop, to see who had two tires to fit. BTW, when we had our first blowout, we decided to buy all new tires. So these tires were less than two years old.
GEICO was GREAT! We had a really bad experience with Good Sam’s Club Emergency Roadside service when we had our first blowout. After the Claims Representative quickly ascertained we were OK and what we needed, emergency road side service, she agreed I should go get the info from the culprits.
(Shameless Commercial Break: This was our second incident under GEICO. We are very proud of the fact our daughter is a GEICO Claims Examiner. While she never handles our claims, we see the other reps are as compassionate and well-trained as she is. If you want to just get a quote to compare to what you have, call 800-342-9070 and give them referral number 109367. You won’t get a better price, but our daughter will get a kudos!)
In the meantime, Bill had a GREAT break, he talked to Love’s Tire Center and they referred him to PlanRV Search, for situations just like ours. From there, Bill found Black’s Tire Service, and they had a nearby store which had two tires. And they had an emergency road side vehicle to change them.
So off I walked to the culprit vehicle, only to see them pull away, leaving something behind. ARGHH….I took pictures of what was left behind and was being towed. It looks like an OLD roofing hot tar kettle and pump. Of course, no license number on it. Nor could I find a VIN, not that I looked very hard considering the traffic!
It was a very hot and humid day, 80 degrees and 80% humidity. We were on the side of the road for three hours. I was a bit rattled so the pictures didn’t turn out very well – but I had to take pictures! We pulled down the shades in our motor home, but without a generator to keep it cool, it turned into an oven! It was hard to relax inside but not too comfortable to stand outside. We just couldn’t believe how smooth the 327 miles had been up to this point. And we were only 80 miles from our destination!
While trying to stay cool inside, I saw a semi-tractor trailer pull-up to the hot tar trailer. Wow, are you kidding, what’s going on? I decided to head up there to see if they knew the owner….only for them to pull off as soon as I got close. I didn’t go on to see if they did anything to it. I should have because about 15 minutes later, we saw a pick up pull in front of it, hitch up and take off! Do you think they had any idea of all the damage they caused?
What is our next hard decision? Go back to Dillon? Or push forward since it was 4:30 and we are so close. The Myrtle Beach rush hour would be over by they time we get there. It will still be daylight when we arrive (but not while setting up). We were so exhausted and stressed, since we knew the route, we decided to just push on. And that was the good thing, we knew where we were going so no surprises ahead.
And there weren’t! We missed the rush hour. We had a smooth check in. We were on this site last time we were here. The weather was perfect but we were too tired to even take a short walk to see the ocean!
We KNOW things could have been so much worse. So we continue to praise God and wonder if He wasn’t trying to slow us down or divert us to prevent this from happening to us? Or who knows, our vehicle was able to handle this, what if another vehicle had hit it with deadly results? Maybe we prevented something worse. We don’t know, all we can say is we are currently happy campers in Myrtle Beach and my body is continuing to heal. I feel better every day! Bill is in his element – he’s able to jog part of his 5 mile regimine here – and he loves to take a dip after a good workout!
I will praise the Lord no matter what happens. I will constantly speak of his glories and grace. I will boast of all his kindness to me. Let all who are discouraged take heart. Let us praise the Lord together and exalt his name. Psalm 34:1-3