The continuing adventures of our RV Christmas Family Vacation Trip to the Ocean. Catch up on part 1 here.
Our initial departure Time was to be about 7:30am. Our actual launch time was around 1pm.
Google said we would make it in 5.5 hours. If you have ever driven an RV before you will know that Google is never right. We estimate 1.5 times what Google says. That means about 8 hours of driving. I think it actually took us almost 10 hours by the time we parked.
Why so long?
For starters I drive under the speed limit. Plus we had to drive through the Appalachian Mountains. Plus it was raining. Plus Tracy has decided she is too good for Google maps so we have to use Apple Maps. Which means we often get very shaky directions, but we get a beautiful interface.
Also I hate Tracy’s phone. She doesn’t even have Siri on her iPhone. She has Sir. What the world? Her GPS is a dude! Dude’s don’t give directions very well. That is why everyone asks women how to get some place and not a man! Every time Sir (the male version of Siri) talks, I know his voice is full of lies and mis-information!
The good news was Gas was periodically as low as $1.60. So driving around at 8mpg wasn’t terrible.
Since I am currently living in borderline poverty, my family pitched in for gas, so the cost of the trip ended up being around $225 total for us. In my old middle class lifestyle I would have been thrilled and aimed for an even longer trip.
The trip was a lot of fun. When you go on vacation in an RV the trip is just as much part of the experience as the destination. Bathroom breaks, snacks, and stretching are all in everyones grasp at anytime they need. Except for the driver. He has to keep driving.
That is OK! I love driving!
We listened to a fantastic book called In Search of Number 6. Nothing is better then to travel and listen to a travel book all at the same time! Yes, something is better. When the book is available for free. That is even more fantastic!
Listening to the book made me enjoy the trip even more. Hearing about the struggles of riding a bike down the coast of California made me appreciate the RV even more!
Despite the rain, I just loved everything. I loved to see the mountains and the trees. The highways and rest stops.
I enjoyed every second of the trip. I loved the fact I could talk to Tracy and have meaningful conversations with her. I loved the fact that Andrei was content to sit in his bed and read and rest.
Tracy and I filled the hours with talks of our finances, our disappointments, our hurts, and our expectations for the new year.
We only ended up stoping twice on the way to my sisters house. The first time we stopped was for supper. Tracy meal planned sandwiches so we didn’t need to cook and clean up. I managed to fire up the generator to use the microwave. I also managed to light the stove and made a fresh pot of French Press Coffee!
When we went through the mountains I knew there were a few tunnels so I didn’t turn on the propane before I left. That also meant I forgot to check the mechanics work on the gas line.
Lucky for us the stove worked great. Bad for us, I noticed the dealership forgot to re-attach our extend-a-stay attachment. That meant we couldn’t use our external propane tanks when we got back home. That meant yet another trip to the repair shop after the trip was over.
I only had to fill up once all day on gas. I filled up about an hour before our final destination.
I pulled off at a random exit for gas. That of course is always a mistake in a 13 foot tall RV. As you can see from the picture I was inches from the ceiling, and if I would have pulled closer to the pump, I am sure I would have taken out a light fixture.
I am pretty sure the only reason I fit was because someone else already had ripped out a light fixture where I pulled in.
I ended up having to wait until enough people left that I could back up to leave. Pulling forward would have resulted in the destruction of my home and the gas station. I don’t know if my insurance can handle that!
After we got back on the road, we headed towards the state park where we would camp over the holiday.
We drove down lots of very narrow roads, with no street lights, and with no shoulders. We listened to Sir give us terribly timed directions. After hours of driving the North Carolina Country Side we finally reached our destination!
ARE YOU KIDDING ME? YOU CAN’T POSSIBLY MENTION THIS ON YOUR CRAPPY WEBSITE NORTH CAROLINA?
The paper note taped on the sign in the rain was just another classy touch!
Did I mention that I hate Sir? Because I had to listen to Sir direct me to yet another campsite.
Thankfully this other state park was open.
We pulled into the park. A sign said to go find a spot and the ranger would find you in the morning for payment.
That is weird.
We drove into the park. It was huge! We found a nice site and I did a masterful job of backing the RV into it. No lights in the park – just the lights on my RV. It was a great parking job.
Then someone showed up in a Truck to tell us we can’t park there. Apparently the gate was supposed to be shut. Tracy asked if he was a ranger or work camper. Nope. Just a bored dude who loved to enforce the rules.
No worries. He told us to drive even deeper into the park and we would find some nice pull through sites on the water.
That is what I am talking about!
We battled the darkness and the rain and did a few loops, but we finally managed to find a great site right on the water.
We pulled in, dropped the jacks and extended the slide. Andrei and I plugged in the power and we turned on the heat.
Tracy called my sister to come pick us up. While we waited, we quickly hung up our christmas decorations, because it was the holidays and we were going to celebrate!
I am not going to lie. The last part of the trip was stressful. Our RV does not have great headlights. It was really dark, and it was really raining.
Once we finished setting up we kept the door open. The fresh forest smells, the water, the warm air. It was magical.
We spent a few hours with my family that night. It was fun catching up. When we got back to the park in the RV it was fun being at home.
I can’t express enough how wonderful it is to be at home wherever you are. To have all your clothes, your toilet, your stuff. To never have to forget things, because everything is with you. To sleep in your own bed every night.
Those are the little things that make RVing amazing.