Are you in Georgia or near the Georgia coast and need a little getaway? Really, you could come from anywhere, and enjoy this place!! When we ordered Peanut (our Lance 1575 travel trailer), our plan was to venture off at least once a month. With Georgia Bar study grind, work, and school, options are limited to weekend destinations. With more time, travels could certainly be taken further, but for now, weekend warriors to close-by destinations, it is. As a member of Georgia State parks, we receive discounts, paid parking, and 3 free nights of camping, AND we could choose from over 30 locations in our home state. When Peanut was ordered, reservations were immediately made for August, September, October, and December. Don’t worry, November, there’s still time! September choice was made by Flash. Mookie and Mairin wanted to go to the beach. Flash agreed to compromise and throw a little history lesson in there too. We spent our September long weekend at Fort McAllister, located just south of Savannah. While we had been to Savannah before, we had never been in this quaint state park that was full of wildlife, huge trees with Spanish moss, an amazing campground (with fantastic and abundant park hosts!), and a battlefield left over from the civil war.
We picked up Peanut from storage on Wednesday (If you are active duty or retired military and have base privileges, check out your local armed forces installation for their options on storage!). We had planned to leave home at 6:00 a.m. on Thursday to make it through Atlanta before rush hour traffic and have an early arrival at our campsite. In true Wells fashion, this did not happen as planned. A little back story - when we purchased our towing vehicle, we requested the dealership order the crossbars for the roof, which they said we would, but they were on back order, and had no idea when they would be in. Sunday before we were to leave at 6:00 a.m. on Thursday, we had a discussion about how it stinks that the crossbars were not in as we really wanted to take our kayaks with us on this trip. After perusing Amazon and clicking on any crossbar that may work, there was no way any of them would arrive by the time we needed them Wednesday evening. Monday rolled around and Flash started calling local retailers to see if any of them had something they could use in stock. Finally, he was able to order from 4-Wheel Parts (who were amazing and very accommodating). Again, with Georgia Bar study brain, Flash told 4-Wheel Parts that they needed the crossbars by Thursday. NO! NO! NO! Not Thursday, WEDNESDAY!!! At any rate, on Wednesday when Flash made a follow up call, 4-Wheel Parts let him know that the part would be in by noon on Thursday (you know… by when he said he needed it). Now, in true Flash and Mookie fashion, we rolled with it and that offered us time to sleep in on Thursday and make sure everything else was good to go.
New plan! Mookie calls 4-Wheel Parts on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. The bikes were loaded up. Everything else was in its place in Peanut and in the Punisher. The kayaks were brought up from their storing area and placed in the garage so it would be an easy transition to get them up on the racks and go. 4-Wheel Parts tells Mookie that their parts are not there yet but will be there by noon. Flash said it would be best to just go there and wait for it to come in. Good idea as the location was 20-30 minutes away. They got there by 11:00. They waited. And waited. Finally, a staff member came out to let us know that the truck that our parts were on broke down. But don’t worry! The parts are being transferred to a different truck, and hopefully, soon would be there. We aren’t sure if it was our sitting on their other parts, like the cooler, or if was our wandering around their roped off areas, but the same staff member suggested we go grab something to eat and they would contact us as soon as the part got there. Since we had not eaten yet, and Marietta Square (another great North Georgia location) was right around the corner, we decided, YES, let’s eat. We were finishing our Chicago dogs and corn nuggets, when as promised by noon, 4-Wheel Parts called to let us know our parts were there! We rushed out, corn nuggets in hand, and made it to the car just before it started raining. We picked up our part, made it home, and again in true Wells fashion, put up cross bars and loaded up kayaks in the pouring down rain. Finally, by 2:00 p.m., we were on our way! We had a 4 ½ hour drive ahead of us. Add extra time for towing and stopping, and we might get to our location by night fall. If you watched our first video, you saw how Flash did not want to set up camp for the first time in the dark…. good thing this isn’t the first time, but the second!! Mookie rallied and drove white knuckled through the pouring rain, through Atlanta traffic, and they didn’t stop until they were over 2 hours in to their drive. Success!
Awhile into the drive, we were looking for a CAT scale to weigh our vehicle and travel trailer as we had never done that before. The dry weight of Peanut (our Lance 1575) is 2775 lbs and our cargo carrying capacity is only 925 lbs. When you think about it, 925 lbs does not go very far. We are still uncertain if we did the weighing correctly, and plan to do it again, but if we did weigh properly, we were definitely overweight for our one axel travel trailer by a few hundred pounds.
We finally made it to Fort McAllister. The office was closed, and though it was still light out, the sun would be setting soon. We grabbed our check-in packet as directed and made our way to our campsite. We set up camp in a premium campsite complete with electric hook up, water, and sewer right next to a wooded area, and not too close to our neighbors. We finished just as the sun set. Flash immediately made a campfire so dinner could get started. Packets of Andouille sausage, green beans, and potatoes for us, and because apparently, we are like Burger King, and you can “have it your way,” Mairin had chicken instead of sausage. While the packets were cooking on the fire, Mookie said to Flash, “Look over there… there’s something in the woods. It’s smaller than Tulie (our chocolate lab) but bigger than Penny (our shih tzu terrier mix)” Flash replied nonchalantly that Mookie was seeing things, and there was nothing there. Several minutes later, beady eyes were peering over their campfire food. Not just one set of eyes, but TWO! A flash of the light in that direction revealed two large raccoons seeking our dinner. Luckily, they were easily scared off, and made their way to another site. Mookie was not seeing things!
Overnight brought rain into a sunny morning that was hot and humid. We spent the afternoon in Savannah. The city is rich in architecture, boutique stores, waterfront walkways, and squares every few blocks down Bull Street. We love Savannah for these things. On our way back to our campsite, we stopped at Ken’s Seafood Market in Richmond Hill. We planned shrimp boil packets over the fire for dinner, and the shrimp and fish purchased at this market was fresh and delicious. We walked in just several minutes before they were due to close, and their credit card machine was down. The only cash we had on us was a twenty-dollar bill. We requested our shrimp and inquired on the cost of the red snapper. The manager (or owner?) informed us we had enough for the red snapper in addition to the shrimp, and after we were rung up, the total was $20 and some change. We handed him the twenty-dollar bill, and went to check for change, but he told us to never mind as we were up front with our $20 to begin with.
That evening brought even more rain, and the next morning a full black tank that needed to be emptied. We were hooked up to sewer, and Mairin went to pull the black tank handle.
Flash was overseeing the process, and as soon as the stinky mess reached the sewer, he could see through the clear elbow that something was clearly wrong…. So. Very. Wrong. It was not draining. It was not going down. What was wrong? Why? Why is this happening? What in the world do we do now????? Mookie went to find a campground host (there are several at this campground). Since it was early morning, the hosts (all 9 couples, so many hosts) were all out and most at the same campsite conversing. Mookie let them know what was going on, and they contacted the campground office, who in turn contacted the ranger, who in turn contacted their maintenance crew (something out of “Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe”). We were then asked by the campground host if we tried to dump the tank during low tide. As new RV’ers, we had no idea what they were talking about. Yes, we were on the coast. We’ve even lived on the coast in the past (for a very long time!) and had a septic tank. Apparently, if you try to drain your black tank during high tide, there can be issues to occur such as the one we were having. But come to find out, it wasn’t all due to our lack of knowledge. One of the pumps in the campground was down, and so the combination of things caused for a septic back up. We also learned what a “honey wagon” is as the campground host was trying to accommodate us with a loaner so we could go about our day. Yes, a loaner portable poo holder, thanks but no thanks. A few hours and a bike ride later, we tried again, and all was great! Thank goodness!! It wasn’t the end of the world, by any means, and we even thought about driving to the dump station (which didn’t have any draining issues), but it really was an okay situation, and it all worked out in the end.
We spent half a morning visiting the museum and walking Fort McAllister (the actual civil war battlefield) where we saw cannons, trenches, quarters, no other people, and learned a little bit more about the area. Flash provided a history lesson as he has always been a plethora of useless (weird) knowledge, but in this case, quite informative.
Another day, we spent an early afternoon on the river, kayaking to a little tiki restaurant close by called Fish Tales. They offered fruity adult beverages, great popcorn shrimp, and fish tacos. We enjoyed everything at the locally owned restaurant before the paddle back. They even brought Penny a bowl of water! We didn’t see any gators or manatees though both exist in those waters, but we did see plenty of other wildlife within the state park. We came across many deer, armadillos, racoons, egrets and other birds during our stay. A bike ride on an overgrown trail happened, and Mairin took Mookie out on her bike... AGAIN!! (if you want a serious belly laugh, see video from Mission Bay bike path in San Diego for prior take out!) Unfortunately, no video exists, but seriously, this kid is learning how to drive a car, and that makes it a little scary!!
Before we knew it, we were breaking down our campsite and getting ready to head home. We learned during our breakdown this time that our list that we have generated for “campsite breakdown” already needs some updates. Flash do this and Mookie do that is how it needs to be… with a little bit of Mairin, you’re in charge of this. Currently, it’s a step by step which is great to make sure everything is checked off your list, but when you have three people who can help get the job done, the list needs to be personalized. We also always put our egos to the side and double and triple check each other. Making an updated and personalized checklist is on our agenda.
The drive home was dry (so unusual for us!) and uneventful, which makes it a successful trip! To say we had a blast is an understatement. We got home in time to unload and clean Peanut before driving to storage that same day (again… if you are military… active duty or retired, make sure you contact your local armed forces base to see if they offer storage options. We did, and it’s amazing! Also, the cost is very appealing compared to other local options). We are very much looking forward to future trips with Peanut! By the time we finished this blog, we have reservations for January, (February is an RV free trip!... we will be hanging out with our favorite rodent), April, and May of next year!! Stay tuned to follow along on our adventures!