Monday, April 1, 2019

Visiting Lancaster, SC, Kings Mountain, NC, North Myrtle Beach, SC

Our Northeast route took us through Athens, GA.   Traffic was a nightmare in the vicinity of Atlanta—welcome back to the East Coast!  Gerda, our GPS, told us to use State Road 365 instead of I-285 bypass, which supposedly had a 45-minute delay due to an accident.  Like the apple Adam accepted from Eve, Dad takes the bite.   He tells Mom, who was driving, to follow Gerda’s instructions.  Sure, Gerda, like we might be the only ones to take this alternate route, which turned out to be a 2-lane, 55 mph road with traffic lights at regular intervals.  We’d just get up to speed and we’d be hitting the brakes again.  But we arrived on schedule to meet up with our friends and fellow Escapees Romalee and Tim for a nice dinner at Taqueria La Parrilla.  Considering it was a Thursday evening at 6 p.m., the place was packed!  Decent food and great company—can’t ask for more!  Afterwards we did our reciprocal shopping at Wal-mart, the most expensive campground one can ever stay at, then called it a night.

After traveling on some really beat up roads (I nearly got car sick!), we arrived at Cane Creek County Park, located in Waxhaw, NC, just a mile or so from the South Carolina border.    This Union County park is open year-round and is a real gem!  The campground has spacious sites with lakeside views, hiking trails, and playgrounds for the many kiddies.  Campground fees also entitle you to day-use amenities, like swimming pool (in season), ball fields, mini-golf, and the pavilion and amphitheater, which offer beautiful backdrops for weddings and other special occasions.  Interestingly, this county park offers annual RV sites at reasonable prices ($2,400/year for non-residents).  The bad news is that they are no longer accepting names on their wait list because it is backlogged by at least 3 years.  There were few people staying in the park during our week-long visit, so it was just the way we like it—quiet and peaceful.

Though it was quite chilly, we enjoyed hiking each day along the trails, which totaled over 5 miles within the Park.  I particularly liked the short nature walk that was built by an Eagle Scout. The walk introduced me to native vegetation and animals as well as invasive species.  For instance, the common carp that now inhabits these waters became prevalent from people using goldfish as bait or emptying their home aquariums in the lake.  Who knew!  I also was thrilled to see the infamous vultures that the Park warns all visitors about.  The vultures roost in this area and have a reputation for causing damage to RVs and boats.  But they are a protected species and therefore, you cannot do them any harm.  As long as they don’t look at me as a dinner entrée, I’m good with the buzzards.

The infamous vultures (AKA buzzards) that reside at Cane Creek Park

The best thing about this Park to me is that it is only 15 minutes from Lancaster, SC, home of our former NJ Biker Bros Jeffrey and Donny.  These guys may look like some scary dudes, but trust me, they are pussycats at heart.  They are among the kindest, most generous, charitable people we have ever known, lending credence to the adage, “don’t judge a book by its cover.”

The boys came over to our place for dinner the first night.  The next day we got to tour the newest amenities at Jeffrey’s 3-acre property:  greenhouse and gardens, koi pond, and fruit orchard.  And while we guys did some plinking, Mom was in heaven sitting at the tiki bar watching all the cardinals, nuthatches, finches, and assorted other birdies partake of the treats Jeffrey provides. Jeffrey, who is quite the chef, grill master, and bread maker, made a delectable smoked trout dinner.  The perfect end to a perfect day!

All the birdies lined up in a row!

Lancaster, SC is home to Andrew Jackson State Park, whose grounds include the 100-acre plantation on which our 7th President of the United States was raised.    Andrew Jackson’s popularity reminds me of Donald Trump.  He was sometimes considered a bully.  While he was loved deeply by some constituents, he was hated vehemently by others.  There seemed to be no neutral ground.  Though proven to be an excellent soldier and military leader during the Revolutionary War and War of 1812, he was a slave owner and responsible for signing the Indian Removal Act, which resulted in “The Trail of Tears”, the forced relocation of American Indians from their ancestral homes in the Southeast.  Sadly, Jackson’s family was a bit doomed—kind of like the Kennedys.  His father died in a logging accident a week before Andrew’s birth, an older brother died in the Revolutionary War, while another died from smallpox.  His mother died of cholera—leaving Andrew an orphan before his 15th birthday.  His wife, though junior to him by more than 25 years, died at the young age of 34.  Although we missed the Andrew Jackson Birthday Celebration held just a few days earlier, we still had quite an enlightening visit at Andrew Jackson State Park.

We took a day to do some chores, like banking, food shopping, and laundry, which brought us to Evans Laundry Solutions on North Main Street in Lancaster.  It’s a big place, offering a variety of different sized washers.  It is a bit pricey, though (anywhere from $3.50/load for top loader to $8/load for HUGE commercial front loaders), and it does not accept coins.  You must purchase a reloadable card for $2 or pay a $2 service fee to use the attendant’s card.  But the ability to always get a machine, the cleanliness of the place, and the efficiency and friendliness of the staff are well worth it.  Best of all, it has a Ms. Pac-man machine on the premises!  (My parents actually met at such a machine in a dance club many moons ago, so we are all huge fans!)  Evans Laundry Solutions earns a 5-cheese award from this Rambling RV Rat.

We saw on-line that Country Camping Corner had a DRV 40KSSB Mobile Suites unit in stock!  As I mentioned in a prior post, we ordered this model for delivery this fall.  But Mom would love to get inside again to take some additional measurements and see the color schemes.   (For all the dealerships we have visited, we have only been inside this model once).  Country Camping Corner is near Kings Mountain, where we planned to visit the National Military Park, so we stopped in.   We didn’t want to waste a salesperson’s time, so we were honest and explained that we purchased a new unit already, but we would like another look-see.  As our luck would have it, they sent out the 40 KSSB unit for paint touch up the day before!  But Richie, the salesperson, was very friendly and kind, and he offered to take us into the other models he had on the lot, since several units utilize the same-sized cabinets and color schemes.  (We all fell in love with the Full House JX 450 Toy Hauler!  It is one of the few toy haulers where you do not sacrifice living space.  Had we not gone the route of customizing our medium duty truck for hauling all our toys, we would have considered this model.)   Though Country Camping Corner has been a DRV dealer for only 2 years, we were very impressed with Richie’s knowledge of the product and customer service.

Kings Mountain National Military Park is a hidden treasure.  It has an interesting film, terrific Junior Ranger Program (I did extra activities in order to earn a patch in addition
 to my pin, so Jeffrey could add the patch to his tiki bar collection), and fully-paved pathway for easy access through the battleground and up the mountain to the military monument.

Yours truly proudly displaying my latest Junior Ranger achievement 

Depiction of  the Battle of Kings Mountain

We are never too old to learn, and boy, did I learn lots!  During the Revolutionary War, The British Loyalists refocused their war efforts from the North to the South.  They had a decisive advantage over the Patriots, but didn’t count on the Irish-Scot frontiersmen living west of the Appalachians (known as over-mountain men) to support the Patriots, particularly since the over-mountain men had mostly remained neutral during the War.    But the Battle of Waxhaws in May 1780, where British Commander Tarleton massacred Abraham Buford and his Patriot forces even AFTER they waved the white flag, infuriated the over-mountain men (as it did a very young Andrew Jackson).  The assistance of the over-mountain men to the Patriots during the Battle of Kings Mountain lead to the defeat of Patrick Ferguson’s British forces.  As President Hoover said during his speech of October 7, 1930, 150 years after the Battle, “It was a little army and a little battle, but it was of mighty portent”.

After hearing about the Battle of Waxhaws, AKA Buford’s Massacre, I had to visit the battleground.  Jeffrey and Donny are volunteers at the Battlefield, so they gave us some background.  As you view a mass grave, you can feel the spirits of the Patriots.  War is so ugly. It saddens my heart to think about all the lives lost.  So many fathers, brothers, uncles killed.  Too many women became young widows and childless mothers.  I can only say “thank you” to the Patriots for their efforts, for giving me a better life, a free society, and the greatest country in the world.  May God Bless America.

We had one warm, perfect-riding-weather day during our week-long visit, so Jeffrey, Donny, Dad, Mom, and me all geared up for some motorcycling.  We were heading to Brattonsville, an area listed on the National Registry of Historic Places that chronicles the workings of the plantation and the lives of its owners, the Brattons, a prominent family from York County, South Carolina.  We got about halfway there and Mom slows down to about 25—on a 45-mile-per-hour road.  What’s that hair-brained woman doing?  She was feeding the gas, but the bike wasn’t taking it.  The bike was chugging as if out of gas, but she had only 20 miles on that tank.  We all pulled over.  Dad put in dry gas, but the problem persisted.  We put in fresh fuel, too, which seemed to correct the problem, at least temporarily.  But no one wanted to risk it.  So, Dad and Jeffrey went back to camp to get Big Boomer while Donny stayed with Mom.  Me, I sat on the curb sulking--she screwed up my whole outing!  Oh well, I will put Brattonsville on our agenda the next time we visit the area.

Rambling RV Rat with my Biker Bros

We got together for our last night of fellowship with Jeffrey, Donny, and Donny’s wife Sandy.  Mom brought over dinner to Jeffrey’s, and he wowed us with another one of his delicious breads.

The next morning we took one final hike before we headed to our next destination:  North Myrtle Beach.  We drove along some back-country roads, which was nice and relaxing.  We passed Darlington Speedway, AKA “The Lady in Black”, and an old missile silo.  It turned out to be a glorious day, with temps in the low 70s, despite waking up to 38 degrees.  Spring has sprung here--white, pink, yellow, and purple hues abound, from blooming forsythia, dogwoods, azaleas, and lilacs, which seemingly grow wild here.

The fields were full of this red-hued grass

We arrived at North Myrtle Beach RV Resort and Marina.  It is a lovely, newer park in a rather residential area.  It has one row of pull-thru sites for transients, while all the rest of the approx. 150 sites are back-ins.  All are good-sized, with concrete pads, cable TV, and there are fully-paved roads throughout the park.  Though we don’t use them, we did inspect the showers, and they were meticulous.  The bathrooms were a little messy with paper strewn around, but that is attributable to all the unattended children--LOTS of families with seasonal sites here.  It is important to drive SLOWLY within the park-- there are LOTS of rugrats zipping around on recumbent bikes.  They are low to the ground, so you can’t even see them!  The Resort has a heated pool, bar, and big screen TV for film showings.

Watching sunrise during an early morning walk near the campground

The RV Park lit up at night

Kids parked their blasted recumbent bikes by the pool!

Some friends I met at the Campground.  Like me, they ride with their folks!

We walked for miles and miles along the beach, with the sun reflecting upon the water, and later it  created shadows in the sand.  Myrtle Beach is the birthplace of The Carolina Shag, where partners would dance to R&B music during the 1940s.  It became the official dance of South Carolina in 1984.  And although the dance has morphed a bit since its roots, it is still HUGELY popular.  Mom and Dad were trying to learn it (local dance clubs offer lessons), but it was a fiasco!

Shadows of Mom, me, and Dad in the sand

A pretty sunset

We had an opportunity to reconnect with friends Denise and Dean, whom we haven’t seen in person for 10+ years, but whose friendship has withstood the test of time.  We knew they lived in the Myrtle Beach vicinity, but we didn’t realize they were a mere 3 miles from our campground!  What a blast spending a day with them at the Resort!  We all promised that we would not wait another decade before our next get-together!

Well, time for me to sign off now.  I’ll talk to you again real soon!

We would like to thank the following organizations for all the great service and support they offer to the RVing community:

Escapees RV Club


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RV Dreams

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  1. Wow, you guys are having quite the time out east. I did not know those Andrew Jackson facts, very interesting.

  2. I loved your post. I was born in DC and raised in the DC area. It brought back many good memories. Great pictures too.

  3. Well ---- another great saga of the Wordily Traveling RAT. So much to see ---- SO little time. Gotta make hay while the Sun Shines! Needless to say we totally enjoyed seeing Youse Guys Two Times in a single year!
    Sorry I did not have Cabot Cheese on hand --- NEXT time for sure. Be safe Y'all xxxoo