Thursday, 4 September 2014

ON THE ROAD 3rd September

Tiger Point Marina

We Left Fernandina beach and Taipan on Saturday 23rd August. On Friday we hauled her out of the water and made her fast on the big cradle  at Tiger Point Marina ready for storage for a few months during the worst part of the Hurricane season.
Our first stop was Jacksonville for a tent which we found advertised. It attaches to the rear of the SUV. With the back opened up we plan to sleep in the car and store all our stuff in the tent. 

The first campground was at Cathead Creek just out of Darien. A ranch style layout with cows over the fence and the only grass camp we have had so far. Very clean and friendly.  We managed to erect the tent without instructions and it appears quite satisfactory.

Sunday we were off to Savannah. What a nice city that is! Lovely old waterfront with tram! Horses pulling carriages for tourists. Stooged a while there and should have spent longer but decided to head out to a camp ground onroute to Charleston. It was a horrid run down nasty place but we learning what to look out for now. 

Charleston is a big busy city with a lovely old centre. The museum was a total failure and has put us off museums for a while! So old fashioned. Loads of writing and lots of bad photos. Defiantly give it a miss! We spent two nights at James Park Island and explored the city and surrounds.

Several of the next camps as we headed north west were on lake shores.The lakes were made to provide a water source for irrigation and for power production. They also assists in controlling the flooding of the very low flat countryside. The north west of South Carolina is still quite flat but as we approached the border with North Carolina we started seeing a few hills! The biggest we've seen in months! 

Dreher Island State Park is a series of linked islands in a huge fresh man made lake.  It's fresh and surrounded by beautiful campsites set amongst tall pines and oaks. BBQ and table and chairs power and tap at each site. When we arrived about 330 we set up the tent then took a lovely long swim.... Well laze in the water really before dinner. Our first swim in the USA. 

There is some peanut cotton and corn country in the area. A few pivot instigators but generally not very productive looking farms. Friendly people and pleasant driving. We take the back roads keeping clear of the freeways where possible. I drove for the first ime on some of the outback roads on the 4th day out. I thought I did ok. I didn't run any one down but a couple of lolly pop people jumped out of my way as I came through!! The car IS quite wide!  David took over again after a couple of hours!

As the big Labour day weekend approached we booked into Pisgah Mountain campground to ensure we had a spot. We've met a few tent campers and they are nice and friendly, doing what we are doing, winging it day by day mostly, however Labour Day weekend is big here. Asherville is nearby so we visited on Saturday and had a good day in the River Arts District. What a nice area. There was a mountain Music festival on called the Shindig on the Green so we decided to stay on and partake. Lots of music and clogging! Met some lovely people and exchanged addresses. Hope to catch up with them again somewhere! The drive back up the mountain in the dark and fog was a little nerve wracking, but better than being at sea in fog! 

It's interesting that here in the US horses are very much part of the scene. Many of the parks, both state and federal have extensive horse trails and special camp grounds and facilities all supplied at nominal fee. There are thousands of miles of trails! Many of them are multi use, bikes pedestrians and horses. Country about the same size as OZ and we have practically none and the ones we do have are under constant threat! 

On Monday we started wandering up the Blue Ridge Parkway, a scenic drive about 450m long. It's very historic and follows the Appalachian mountain trails of some ol Indian tribe!  It a lot cooler too up this way which is great for walking and sleeping.
We've done a little walking and marvelled at the amazing flora. Wild hibiscus, rhododendron, american chestnuts and the beech, spruce and oaks are just wonderful. Seen deer, coyote and lots of birds There is not much livestock and the grass seems to be just cut and rolled in bales. Some Historic sites, mostly reproductions but very picturesque. The countryside is beautiful. Farming dosnt look very prosperous but it's sure pretty. Lots of lovely ol wooden fences in that stacked zig zag style. No posts! 

It's really nice because there is no commercial traffic permitted on the Parkway. So no trucks! All just slow ol tourists like us! We have nearly done the 450 odd miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway and tomorrow we will start in the Shenandoah Narional Park on the Skyline Parkway. About 170m. We have arranged to meet Judith my cousin, and Robert her husband, at their mountain cabin in Hood, Virginia,on the 6th to spend a few days with them. Very much looking forward to catching up. They have a cabin about half way along the Shanendoah mountain range in the foothills. 
We don't have access to Internet very often and I can't load photos with the iPad so photos will come later.
There are more pictures of the areas we traveled at Georgia and the Carolinas