Thursday, December 7, 2017

Moving south for the winter

Hunting lizards

With Nicolas’ camper all ready for the winter, it was time for us to move on toward Florida . . . we’d had enough of that chilly Virginia weather!  We were ready for the warmth and sunshine of Florida!

Our ultimate destination for December was 725 miles away, so we planned 3 stops along the way.

North Carolina

Our first driving day of almost 200 miles got us to Fayetteville, North Carolina, where we stayed 2 nights at the Fayetteville RV Resort.


It was a very nice RV resort with a nice area of transient sites (long pull-thrus) and a large pool, pavilion, and even a miniature golf course.  There’s also a large monthly area – probably twice as big as the part of the campground we were in – with their own pool, bath house and laundry.

We had a long pull-thru right across from the office.

Fayetteville RV Resort

We’d never been to this area before, so we took a drive into Fayetteville to look around.  It’s a small town, with a nice business district in the old center of town.

Old town

Town Square

There were several nice shops around the square, and some cute sculptures around town.

I think those dogs have been sitting there for a while!

Our next travel day took us an additional 200 miles south, to Walterboro, South Carolina, where we got our first real improvement in weather – open windows in the afternoon when we arrived, and no heat needed overnight!

We stayed at the New Green Acres RV Park, which was a quick stop off I-95 and advertised the “longest and widest RV sites east of the Mississippi!”

New Green Acres RV Park

They weren’t kidding – those were some big sites!  There were also giant pine cones, and I collected a few to take with me for my Christmas wreath!

In all of our visits to Nicolas in Charleston, and during our stay in Santee last fall, I always wanted to get to Walterboro and we never did.  It’s a cute little town, and although there are quite a few empty storefronts, there were a few nice shops to explore. 

That's a scary chair!

There was a nice Christmas shop where I found a few new ornaments, and an Antique Shop with some really interesting items – this creepy chair was just one example!

Interesting Antique Shop

Need a hat?

Walterboro is also home to the official South Carolina Artisan Center.

South Carolina Artisan Center

It was a nice shop featuring numerous artists from South Carolina.  We looked around, but there’s not a lot of room for art in a motorhome . . .

Our next travel day took us about 180 miles,

Leaving South Carolinaout of South Carolina,

through Georgia,

Passing through Georgia

and across the state line into the warm and sunny state of Florida!

Landing in Florida!

Our last stopover was a weekend in Jacksonville, at Pecan Park RV Resort.

Pecan Park

The park was very nice, with FHU pull-thru concrete sites . . . but right next to the airport!  I swear our site was right in line with a runway!  As planes took off and landed, they barely cleared our motorhome (or at least it felt like they barely cleared it!) When the Navy fighter jets got going, it really got noisy! 

Fortunately, things quieted down overnight, but I don’t think I would have wanted to stay there for an extended time.

On Saturday, we ran a few errands, and then took a drive out to Fernandina Beach to get some lunch. 


We had been to the beach there last spring when we met Nicolas for one of his 4-day weekends, but we didn’t go into the little downtown area.

Tom was in the mood for seafood, so we ended up at Timeto’s Seafood Shack, which had really good reviews.  It really was a shack – where you ordered at a counter and took your food outside to one of several large picnic tables on the patio – but the food was excellent!  Even my chicken strips were freshly made, and Tom said the grouper basket was excellent.

After our very filling lunch, we walked through the shops downtown – definitely more upscale than the last couple of downtowns we had been to – Fernandina was a really nice town.

Historic Home


It was a great town and a beautiful day, and after strolling through the shops we took a drive out towards the beach.

We drove past Fort Clinch State Park and decided to drive in and take a look around.  A couple years ago, we had an opportunity to volunteer there, but we didn’t take it because we heard that the Verizon signal in the area was weak.  We stopped at the ranger station and asked if it would be OK for us to take a drive through.

Our first stop was at the beach loop of campsites.  Nice!

What a classic campsite!

Bryce just happened to call me then, so I was able to try out the Verizon signal and it was fine. 

We took a walk on the beach . . .


At the beach


and caught the beginning of the sunset over the St. Mary’s River in the River loop of campsites.

St. Mary River

Fort Clinch was a really nice park, and we think we’d enjoy volunteering there, so on the way out we stopped in the Ranger Station again to get the volunteer coordinator’s contact info so we can send him an application.  Maybe we’ll spend a couple months there next year.

After our weekend in Jacksonville, it was time to finish our southern move.  We only had 145 miles to go, so we took our time in the morning and let the rush hour traffic clear before we got on the road.

We took the east beltway around downtown, which was a new route for us, and took us over a very high bridge!

Tall bridge

Driving around Jacksonville

From there we got back on I-95 south, and it was a trouble-free drive to Titusville, and the Willow Lakes Golf and RV Resort.

We’ll be staying here for December and January, and we have a very nice rental site in the resort.

Willow Lakes RV and Golf

We have a really nice patio, complete with an outdoor kitchen,

Outdoor entertaining area

Nice patio

and a nice view of the golf course!

We have a view of the 9th hole

I think we’ll like it here for a couple months!  Oh – and it was 83 degrees!!


Friday, December 1, 2017

Projects Completed

Nicolas' site in the monthly area

When we arrived in Virginia almost 6 weeks ago, Nicolas had settled nicely into his new home, and he had a list of projects for us to help him with.

Wash and Wax the Camper with our DA polisher – Tom and Nick got started on that our first weekend there, and Tom finished up while Nicolas was at work.


Install a water filter inline with his city water hookup (and winter-proof it) – Tom ordered the filter housing online  (along with tire covers, shorter water hoses, and a couple tubes of Dicor sealant for his roof) and picked up the fittings at Lowe’s, and routed it into the trailer where it would be enclosed in the winter.  He also replaced his regular hose with a heated one for the winter.

Water filter and heated hoses

Winter-proof his sewer line – During our walks around the campground, we noticed that many of the year-round residents used solid PVC in place of flexible RV sewer hoses.  We thought that was a good idea, and would preserve Nick’s Rhino hoses for when he goes camping.  It took a few tries, and several trips to Ace Hardware and Lowe’s. but Tom finally came up with the fittings that would work together, and he and Nicolas installed the new plumbing on one of Nick’s days off.  They also kept it inboard, so that the majority of the pipe would be enclosed under the trailer.

Hard-piped sewer lines

Meanwhile, on the inside . . .

Window Treatments -- the people who had the camper previously had hung some curtains that really didn’t make any sense – they were too short to be curtains,and too long to be valences. 

Old curtains

Living room side

Nick didn’t like them, and neither did I, so he asked me to make something different.  I turned to Pinterest for inspiration, and decided to make valences out of foam.  It sounded good, but was a little tricky in the execution!  We did it, though, and they look pretty good (just don’t touch them too much!)

Diningroom - New valances

Living Room - new valances

I like them, and so does Nick.  He wants to replace that uncomfortable couch, but he’s still looking for something else that will fit there.


I also added a few Mom touches while I was there!

BedroomI made little runners for each of his nightstands, that match his Mustang quilt.

Little runners for his night stands

I hung a few memories from his 2-1/2 years in Charleston.

Charleston MemoriesSand dollars and starfish from Folly Beach,

and graduation pictures from the first two phases of Nuke School.

Nuke School Graduations

I also made him a wool mat for his table – it looks just like his camper and truck, even with Casey in the truck window --

A touch of cuteness from Mom

and a welcome sign for his wall.

Welcome wall hanging 

Skirting the camper for the winter – Our last big project was the skirting.  The campground owner didn’t want it up too soon, but we wanted it done before we left.  We spent quite a bit of time designing and planning, and scoping out materials, so that by the time our last weekend came around, we were ready to go.  One of Nick’s neighbors helped us out, and the four of us spent one full Saturday working on it.  I think it turned out really well.

Front side skirting

Skirting and big propane tank installed

Nicolas didn’t think he would need a big propane tank, but after talking to some of his neighbors, we convinced him that he should get one.  The 100 gallon tank will probably last the full winter, and he won’t have to worry about running out in the middle of the night or coming home after a duty day to an empty cylinder.  He got an excellent deal on it – they typically charge $90 to deliver it, and another $90 to take it away when you’re done with it, but they waive both of those fees for active military.  So, all he pays for is the gas he uses, and at $2.34/gallon, it was a pretty good price.

New car, too – Nicolas was getting a little tired of having to fill up his truck with gas every week, and was constantly worried about it when he was parked in the parking lot at the shipyard (I seem to remember mentioning both of those concerns when he was shopping for the truck!), so he decided to buy a commuter car that he could use for going to/from work and leave his truck for the weekends.  We actually found one really quickly – it was listed on facebook, and turned out to be another sailor on his same ship – what a small world!  He had to put new tires on it, and fix a few other things, but it’s going to be a good little car for him.

2010 Focus

KitchenWith all of that complete, we had Nicolas pretty well set up for the winter.  He’s got a good little camper, and it will serve him well. I know he enjoys having his own place – one that he owns and is responsible for!

We also got to know the campground staff and several of Nicolas’ neighbors pretty well.  They are all really good people, and we feel comfortable that they will look out for him and help him out when he needs it.

It was a very productive stay!

As we prepared to leave after Thanksgiving, Nicolas was thinking about how he was going to decorate for Christmas.  I added a few more festive touches before we left,

Little Christmas wall hanging

 Christmas pillowcases

and this weekend he’s on the hunt for a Christmas tree! 

He’s my Christmas boy – appropriately named!

St Nick