Bill and Kit’s 2019 Excellent Adventure, Journal #15

The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure.
Joseph Campbell

 

Monday, April 22, 2019: Up early and departed our campsite at the Short Stay Military Recreation Facility, Moncks Corner, South Carolina under sunny skies and temperatures in the mid 60’s. Before making it too far had to make a quick stop at the campground’s wastewater station.

This is one of the better designed dump stations we have come across in our eleven years of RV part-time living. Plenty of room, accessible from either direction, and sloped just right to ensure a quick and efficient evolution. It also should be noted that, due to the rather large capacity of our wastewater holding tanks, we were able to live in our camper for eight days without needing to use any of the campground’s restroom or shower facilities…gotta appreciate the efficiency of “Navy Showers”!

Back underway at 0800, we followed Lucy, the GPS, as she directed us down a series of country roads basically heading toward the north.

Meandering through one small town, Kit was delighted to see this colorful Bookmobile…

…likely bringing the thrill of reading fine books to some remote South Carolina town.

Lucy eventually found our way to US-17 which hugs the U.S. Eastern shoreline and then continued North through Huntington Beach State Park and the resort town of Myrtle Beach. Shortly before noon found us crossing the North Carolina border, and within another 90 minutes, pulling into Southport where we queued up for the NC Ferry System ride across the Cape Fear River.

Being a larger vehicle waiting to be loaded on a medium sized ferryboat, we garnered our own lane to wait the ferry’s arrival, and then were one of the first vehicles to load…score one for us!

The NC Ferry System is Americas largest fee-free ferry organization and is managed by the North Carolina Department of Transportation. It connects the states coastal byways across various bodies of water, mainly to the islands of the Outer Banks.

The MV Southport we were on is one of the newer ferries in the system. At 180 feet long and a beam of 44 feet, she can carry up to 44 automobiles and over 300 passengers.

As we pulled out of Southport for the 35-minute transit…

…we were offered a bon voyage by some local residents…

…who had an ulterior motive for their friendly attention to our boat…

…as the rotating props in the shallow river churned up a lot of delicious edibles!

Midway across the river, I happened to notice that our GPS was dutifully keeping track of our voyage.

Which provided a unique image and indicated the boats speed of 9.5 MPH…however, our indicated elevation of 33 feet above sea level was a bit suspect!

Arriving at the debarkation point of Fort Fisher, we rolled off the ferry and made our way north…

…a few miles to the town of Kure Beach, NC where we pulled into our home for the next few days…

… Fort Fisher USAF Recreation Area and set up in their nice spacious campground.

Then, following a nice meal, a walk about the area, and a nightcap, we turned in for the evening.

Goodnight!

 

Tuesday, April 23 and Wednesday, April 24, 2019-Kure Beach, North Carolina: Woke as the sun was rising over the beach front homes a block east of our campsite.

Kure Beach, pronounced “Cure-e Bee-ch”, is an oceanside town of a mere 2,000 year-round residents, that swells to ten times that number during the peak summer tourist season. Due to its relative isolation and the strict zoning laws, Kure Beach has not succumbed to the overbuilt touristy enclaves that plague so many coastal towns but primarily consists of privately-owned cottages…many of which are brightly painted.

The small downtown of Kure Beach is quaint and very walkable with beautiful flowers along the sidewalks…

…which lead to a municipal fishing pier at the foot of the main drag of Atlantic Street…

…where one can capture panoramic views of the coastline…

…and enjoy the warm ocean breezes!

However, things were not so tranquil last September when Hurricane Florence ravished the Atlantic coastline with 100 MPH winds. The resulting six-foot storm surge inundated this low-lying area and washed away a significant amount of beach sand. Today the US Army Corps of Engineers is undertaking a massive $17,000,000.00 remediation project…

…to dredge over a million cubic yards of sand from offshore…

USA/COE Website Photo

…and deliver it via large diameter pipes to help restore approximately 3.5 miles of eroded public beach…

…which they then sculpt to a normal beach terrain using heavy equipment…a process the government calls “Oceanfront Nourishment”.

As you can imagine, seafood joints are the restaurant of choice in Kure Beach, and one that came highly recommended was Jack Mackerel’s Island Grill…

…where we enjoyed an excellent dinner…

of locally caught Flounder!

At the southern tip of Cape Fear lies the Confederate stronghold of Fort Fisher.

Where fortifications guarded the entrance to the Cape Fear River, a major strategic point during the Civil War in that it protected the port city of Wilmington, North Carolina 17 miles upriver.

A small museum staffed by knowledgeable docents greets the visitor and provides a glimpse into the life of the soldiers and sailors that manned the fort. In addition to military artifacts behind glass cases…

…there was an opportunity for the public to touch and inspect some fragments of cannon balls found near the fort…

…and I was surprised by how heavy these relatively small pieces were!

Walking around the grounds of Fort Fisher…

…one notices the stunted and misshaped coastal trees…

…which is a direct result of the near constant onshore winds in this area, which also…

…makes for some great kite flying!

Kit and I thoroughly enjoyed this, our second visit to Kure Beach, North Carolina…

…but tomorrow it is time to pull chocks and continue our journey toward the Northeast!

 

Thursday, April 25, 2019: Woke to another spectacular sunrise…

…and following breakfast broke camp and headed up Cape Fear under sunny skies and temperatures in the 80’s.

Kit and the GPS soon found our way to Interstate 40 and we soon crossed the southern border of Virginia. We rolled through Richmond at 1507 hours, and 90 minutes later found us pulling into the KOA Campground in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Since this is to be a quick overnight stop, I kept the truck and trailer connected and didn’t bother to extend the leveling jacks.

After dinner, and a walk about the small but nice campground it was time to call it a night.

 

Friday, April 26, 2019: On the road by 1000 hours and headed north on I-95. Our fellow RV’ing friends Vince and Candy advised us on a great way to bypass Washington, DC which added a few miles to our transit. It was far more enjoyable driving through the lush countryside of Virginia
than the congestion headaches of DC.

Kit and I enjoyed a pleasant and uneventful day as we rolled through the Shenandoah Mountains while making our way toward Interstate 81.

Shortly after noon we crossed into West Virginia, and a few minutes later clipped the corner of Maryland before entering the State of Pennsylvania. At this point, we decided to stop for the night in the small mountain town of Tremont, PA and located Echo Valley RV Park.

Setting up for an overnight stay…

…I once again did not bother to disconnect!

 

Saturday, April 27, 2019: This morning, over breakfast, Kit and I decided to remain another night at this rustic campground in the hills of central Pennsylvania. Judy, shown at left in the below photo, is a former Mechanical Engineer who gave up the corporate rat race and purchased this campground a few years back.

The gentleman to the right lives in the park and is the campground caretaker. Both he and Judy were very friendly and down to earth…we had a great time getting to know them both.

The park borders a pleasant stream which was running at capacity due to snow melt and the spring rains that had recently moved through this area.

A great place to rest and enjoy a day off the road!

 

Sunday, April 28, 2019: Up to gloomy skies and, following breakfast, we were on the road by 1040 hours winding our way through the countryside…

…as we headed back to I-81 North.

The interstate was in even rougher shape than when we passed this way a year ago!?!? If one moves over to the left passing lane, the road surface is a little better…but in the travel lane that we generally use due to our moderate speed, it can be very rough as this is the same lane that all the long-haul truckers use and is pretty darn beat up.

Nearing Frackville, Pennsylvania we encountered dense fog, and noticed the temperature had dropped to 41 degrees…a might bit cold for us snowbirds!

By midafternoon, we were nearing the city of Scranton and decided to pull in for a few days, as I had wanted to visit a National Park Unit in this city for some time now. Locating a campground that had just opened for the season, we pulled off I-81 and wandered northwest through farming country.

Yep, that’s a dirt road we are on, and a not very wide one at that! Also, the low hanging branches added additional battle scars to the sides of our camper. Oh well, such is the plight of the adventurous RV’r.

At 1454 hours, we pulled into Highland Campground and set up on a nice secluded campsite…

…bordered with an iconic stone wall.

These types of walls are scattered through the Northeast and are the result of early settlers clearing the hardscrabble land in order to build cabins and clear an area for vegetable gardens. In later years, the walls became official land boundaries and were surveyed as such. In more current times, as land was sold off and surveys were conducted with modern GPS enabled equipment, many boundary lines were either gapped by a segment of no-man’s-land or were shown to overlap other owners’ boundaries which created disputes…some of which continue to this day.

Up next, a visit to Steamtown National Historic Site, our nation’s premier railroad era museum complex where some of the most important and historic railroad artifacts are housed.

Ones that helped American grow, prosper, and provided citizens a quick and comfortable method of travel…in fact, many of our National Parks were initially serviced by the railroads. So, join us next time as we explore this vast complex dedicated to the early days of railroading and the rather exciting, not so excellent, “adventure” of our final push home to Maine.

Kit’s Bit’s: On that note, our peaceful and somewhat predictable roving lifestyle took a “turn”. Stay tuned for the final phase of our trip. So far, it’s been a very nice getaway, a bit different than our routine jaunt out to the Southwest. The scenery has been beautiful, I love all the green trees and spring flowers. We were finally able to spend time in a few places where we had lived (and never were able to explore) and some new places along the southeast coast.

5 thoughts on “Bill and Kit’s 2019 Excellent Adventure, Journal #15

  1. Meandering along with you both has been fun and informative this year as we are more familiar with the territory.

  2. Great “travel report” as always! Sorry we missed you in NC as we visited Navy friends at Atlantic Beach from May 7 to 11 (a little past your visit!!). We also stayed one night at Cherry Pt. MC Station & toured the base. Did you make it home for the Sage Dance, Jun 8? We were in Washington County from Thurs to Monday! Hope to see you somewhere in Maine soon! Best, Stan & Jane

  3. LOVED THE PAINT JOBS ON THE KURE BEACH FRONT HOMES. INTERESTING ARRAY OF SUN RISES, A SWITCH FROM MANY SUPER SUNSETS.
    WHAT A GREAT RESTORATION JOB ON BOTH THE CANNON AND THE STEAM ENGINE. SORRY WE MISSED THE HOME COMING DINNER AT RICHARDS. BOTH JEANNE AND I WERE DOWN WITH THE PNEUMONIA FOR OVER A MONTH.
    GLAD THAT YOU ARRIVED HOME SAFE AND SOUND.

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