South Carolina beach

Trip Start Jun 05, 2010
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48
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Trip End Aug 13, 2010


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Where I stayed
Hilton Head Harbor RV resort and marina

Flag of United States  , South Carolina
Monday, July 12, 2010

We called ahead and found out they didn't have room for us at a place we wanted to check out on Tybee Island. We heard from a few people that it was awesome. We decided to drive up to a place called Hilton Head instead. The drive into South Carolina from Georgia had some tense moments. We haven’t quite escaped the downpour/thunderstorms yet. They usually spring up out of nowhere in the late afternoon. I welcome them when at camp but while driving it sucks. I saw one brewing on the horizon as we crossed the South Carolina border. It got real dark and showed some good bolts of lightning before dumping hard. We’ve gotten pretty used to spotting these things but it’s always stressful. Violet is usually laid out in the back seat, sleeping or playing on her iPod. She keeps the seatbelt wrapped around her but it’s not really taught. When we see the conditions change we always get her up and have her sit up in her seat and tighten up the belt. We always see at least one car spun out or crashed off the road right when the weather hits. I’ve learned now when we will hit one of these squalls down the highway because it looks like you are going to run into a fog bank. When I see the "white out" ahead I slow down then put on my hazard lights. I’ve learned that it’s best to just exit the highway ASAP when this happens. A lot of times you just have to roll with it until you can find an exit to take. In this storm (see video) the hale started dropping along with heavy downpours. It was about dimed size ice balls (the forecast called for silver dollar hale!) and it didn’t sound good hitting my truck. (you can hear some of it smacking the truck and windshield in the vid) Everyone on the I95 slowed to around 20mph. I took the nearest exit to try and duck under an awning in a gas station. Of course when I got off the highway the service stations were crammed with cars that had the same idea I did. I sat in the open getting pelted for another 5 minutes or so. I’m happy to say, upon a later inspection, the paint on the truck appears unscathed. Unfortunately I have lost the use of my exhaust brake that I was so happy about and the “check engine” light has come on.

Note: Later, I got on the phone with the guy that installed the brake. We tried to troubleshoot it to no avail. I’m going to try and find a shop soon to look at this. I’m not sure about the “check engine” light. When I unplugged the trailer from the truck the light went off. I don’t know what to make of that.

Because of “white outs”, we had to pull off 2 more time before arriving at our destination in Hilton Head, SC. At one of the stops, Vi and I finally explored one of the many “firework super stores” we’ve been passing by. Damn….! These fireworks have come a long way since I shopped for them 10 years ago in Nevada. You can purchase, for between $50 and $75, a box of TNT that looks about the size of a case of beer with a fuse hanging out one side. Real pro stuff. It warns on the side that it will set off car alarms! I might be bringing a couple of these home to Cali with me. As I was purchasing my $2 worth of sparklers, I asked the lady at the counter where I can light off that big box of works. She said I can let 'em go in just about any parking lot, no special occasion required, and no permits needed either! I find this a little hard to believe but it seems to be the attitude in most of the states we’ve passed through. I like fireworks.

We got into our RV resort around 6pm and it’s pretty sick. It’s got a marina attached and is a privately owned park, with swimming pools, yacht club and 5 star restaurant (the Sunset Grille, which we are trying to make reservations for on Monday morning). They have toy rentals too; boats, kayaks, jet skis, etc…. All of the camp sites are owned by private parties and you are, basically, renting from them. The sites go for $60k up to $250K and are all really nice. It costs us about $50 a night. It reminds us, a lot, of a park we like to stay at in the Palm Springs area. I’d like to explore this place a little more but not at these prices.

We spent a day at a nearby beach. The temp was in the upper 80’s and the water seemed even warmer. Not refreshing. Very little waves here too. They had some “toys” to rent and I tried to rent a sailboat but was shot down because the winds were a little brisk. We hung out and played for a few hours then headed back to camp. The beach was much more crowded here compared to St Augustine. A big resort hotel (Holiday Inn, I think it was?) is on the beach here and they have a bar and music. It’s much more of a resort atmosphere here. The towns are made up of real crisp and new buildings and signs painted in earth tones only. Even the fast food restaurants are brown. There appears to be lots of malls and golf courses. Not much character but real clean. We preferred the funky beach towns of St Augustine but this place wasn’t bad. A pretty good storm blew in and is still here as I type this.

We’re off to check out Charleston tomorrow. We are loosely plotting out the rest of our trip. We are planning on taking a Northern route back to California and realizing we won’t have the time to zigzag down to the Midwest like we had planned. I’m bummed because we have a lot of family down that way that we wanted to visit with and Vi and I wanted to show Vonnie my Dad’s home town in Wolbach, Ne. We’ll have to save that trip for next Summer, maybe.
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