We were so blessed by beautiful weather earlier in our week and the “smoky” mountains started to live up to their namesake. We left a day early, Saturday, from the Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, area because we had checked off our to visit list there. We also were moving on to a Thousand Trails park where we pay for an annual membership and the more nights we stay in “the system” the more value we get from the annual pass. So we got a night refunded from the KOA and we moved on to Yemassee, South Carolina, between Charleston and Savannah.
We knew that we wanted to avoid the crossing of the appalachians on mountain roads while pulling the trailer. However, Google maps strikes again and we ended up doing that anyway not realizing it had rerouted us when we turned left instead of right in the campground. It worked out to be a great thing though as we learned about a new National Park Service managed area that gave us some very stunning and breathtaking views of the Smoky Mountains on the Foothills Parkway. The pass wasn’t too bad, just shy of 3,000 feet and the roads were pretty straight. The grades coming down on the East side were pretty significant but we rode it down in low gear with no troubles. I-26 out from the mountains are some very beautiful valleys with a decent roadway. As we continued along I-26 we finally met up with I-95 in South Carolina after passing through North Carolina.
We stayed the week at The Oaks at Point South outside of Yemassee, South Carolina, which is inside the national Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. This park has a lot of negative reviews, “This one feels a little sad for some reason.” Thousand Trails parks are usually “resort like” parks with plenty to do, well maintained, chipper staff that float on clouds around the park. This park is clearly not being maintained to the usual standards of a modern campground, but that may not really be an issue. As long as people come to this park knowing it is a great little place in the woods to park that has electricity that usually works (we had two 10 second power outages, that we know of at least) with good water (didn’t smell like one reviewer stated) and sewer hook ups, it is a good use of the membership. It is only about 45 minutes from here to Hilton Head island and 25 minutes to Beaufort where you can enjoy a quaint little town. The trees and the mud here are the biggest issue, Thousand Trails members often have big rigs and trying to navigate them between the plentiful trunks on basically logging paths is the only real challenge here. There are no over the air TV channels, the cable TV is analog and fuzzy…but yes, we have cable TV here, in our camper, in the woods.
In Beaufort, about 25 minutes Southeast of the campground, we headed to a water side park where they were celebrating Christmas with a boat parade of christmas lights and music in the park. Barb even spotted a little alligator moving around in the marsh land near the shore. We found some unbelievably fresh seafood at the Sea Eagle Market. This market owns a significant portion of the local shrimp boats and is the wholesale distributor of local seafood to the area restaurants. They have a restaurant of their own to feature their harvests and it was our first opportunity to enjoy local scallops, crab and shrimp.
Q: What are you doing about church?
A: Some weeks we travel on Sunday and we have been very successful at participating with Faith Lutheran, River Falls, church through Facebook Live events. Sort of like a “book on tape” for those that remember what tapes were. We have been trying to find local churches to visit, but their schedules and position don’t usually align. We also do not often get responses from the church when we inquire via email about their services. We on more than one occasion have traveled a distance only to find their website had the wrong service times. The Tennessee and South Carolina area are not very rich of WELS churches and it is about an hour one-way to the two from here. In the area of Florida we will be staying there is almost a dozen churches within a half hour area and that will be great as Advent and Christmas unfold.
While we thought that was really good, the next day on our way to Hilton Head Island we had even better preparation of the local seafood at the The Crazy Crab during Sunday brunch. While the market may have the fresher seafood, The Crazy Crab had better recipes for preparing it. We decided though we better start to pace ourselves on the seafood! We visited the stunning Hilton Head Island beach with its white crystal sands. Dipped our feet in the surprising warm Atlantic ocean (but not warm enough to swim) and collected a few shells as mementos from the East coast. Now we need to head to the West coast and collect their mates!
We are finding as we travel that the fall season is everywhere. The foliage is indigenous to the area and each variety is affected by the local fall temperatures just like back home. Here the leaves are all on the ground and the acorns are bombarding our camper with rapid fire succession at times. The beaches at Hilton Head Island are beautiful, that’s not snow but pristine white silica making up the beach. In comparison to what we hear has happened back home in Wisconsin, we are happy with our upper 60’s in the day and upper 40’s at night weather here in South Carolina. We are also further South in the hemisphere that the sun sets about one hour later than it does back home and that gives just enough time in the evening to explore before total darkness.
The week was pretty dreary, it rained most of the week and the campground is very soggy. Fortunately, we did not see the snow that other parts of South Carolina and Georgia have seen. We wrapped up the week with a visit up to Charleston, South Carolina, in the misty and dreary lower 40’s. We toured the Fort Sumter National Monument (land side, not the island) and the Patriot’s Point which is the current home of the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown, the destroyer USS Laffey and the BALAO-class submarine USS Clamagore. There are self-guided tours on all three and inside the USS Yorktown several other maritime/military exhibits. They are well done and in the setting they take on a different feeling than if they were in a building on land. At the end you can also check out the Patriots Point exhibit on the Vietnam war including a fairly large outdoor vignette depicting a war time Vietnam military site.
Next up? Florida!
|8: December 2-10, 2017
|The Oaks at Point South
1292 Campground Road
Yemassee, SC 29945
|The Crazy Crab (Hilton Head Island area)
Sea Eagle Market (Beaufort, SC)
Never again: Gilligan's Seafood in Beaufort
|Hilton Head Island Beach
Carolina Cider Company
Patriots Point, Charleston, South Carolina
Fort Sumter National Monument, Charleston, South Carolina - no parking, you have to park in the parking ($) ramp to the South of the monument
|Remember for Next Time
|Beaufort is pronounced Be-ewhf-urt (not Bo-fort)
The local KOA looks to be in pretty good shape from our quick drive in the main road.
|4G LTE good, but the jitter is high
|4G LTE ok
|Only in the club house area
|A good quality gym in Beaufort area (25 minutes one-way to the Southeast)
|8/10 - lots of mold in the area with all of the marsh land, the "low country" has a very distinct odor