Our fourth year on the road begins once again at our parking site with the Davis' near Granbury, TX. But not for long! We left our friends behind and headed off once more to visit family in Kansas, before heading east, for the first time since we became fulltimers. We traveled north on I-35 to Wichita, KS first.
After a week in Wichita visiting my sister and mother, we traveled east on US54 through Ft. Scott, Ks. and on to Osage Beach, Mo. where we spent the night. We then traveled to Jefferson City, where we turned on to US50 to St. Louis. While US54 through Kansas was well maintained and amply wide, once into Missouri the roads were rather narrow and poorly maintained. This was especially true once we changed to US50. We joined I-44 south of St. Louis and through the city there was a lot of construction, but otherwise it was OK.
We traveled across the southern edge of Indiana on I-64 through nearly flat farm country, and passed through the outskirts of Louisville, Ky. turning south on I-65 to Ky313 where we exited to travel west to Radcliff and Ft. Knox. We spent a week in the Army's Travel Camp as guests of our son who is stationed there. On May first we moved east via the Bluegrass Parkway, to Bardstown. There we moved into My Old Kentucky Home state park to serve as Camp Hosts for the months of May and June. We took many side trips and tours while there and one interesting thing we discovered was the fact that whiskey in not just the major industry of the Bardstown area, but it is a vital part of the culture. This is particularly interesting since it is a "dry" county. At the end of June we once again hit the road, stopping for the Fourth of July at the camp on Ft. Knox and then heading east. We stopped first at Berea, Ky. for a few days. >From there we took I-64 east into West Virginia.
As one who used to believe that all "real" mountains were in the Rockies or possibly in the Northwest, I found the mountains of West Virginia to be awesome! While Kentucky is a state of forested hills, West Virginia is one of forested mountains. Passing across the state on I-64 you will find one grade of three miles of 7% grade followed by four more at 6%. For an interstate, this should be worthy of even the most ardent mountaineer. We also found that RV parks are very few and far between in WV. We spent only one night in WV, stopping in the town of Beckley. We arrived at our next home, Augusta Forestry Center, on August 15.
Our location was in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley. One of the interesting things to those of us from west of the Mississippi River is the number of buildings that are far older than those we are used to. Buildings from 1800 and earlier are quite common. Also there are far more surviving log buildings that are much older than those found in the west. Many are still in use and have been added on to one or more times over the years of use. I think the reason for so many more log buildings is the fact that most are made from hickory or oak and it lasts far longer than the buildings made of pine logs. Sadly, air pollution from the Ohio River Valley has drifted into this valley and has made the views much less impressive. On Sept. 27 we were once again on the move traveling I-81 north to I-64, then east to the exit for Manassas. We then took the Prince William Parkway across to Pohick Regional Park.
We spent a very busy five days at Pohick, visiting three of the sixteen museums of the Smithsonian, as well as most of the other major attractions in the area. We were very surprised to find that all museums of the Smithsonian are free to the public! We found Pohick park to be a very good choice of location. It is a public park with 30A electricity to each site and while no water or sewer, water is available as is a dump station. You do need to use care in selecting a site as some are difficult to level in, but the staff are helpful and many are RV volunteers. The cost is only $20 per night, in an area with few commercial RV parks and rates that average about $45 per night. We would recommend it to all RVers. After five very busy days we again went on the road south on I-95 to Richmond and then east on I-64 to the area of Williamsburg.
We stayed in the Williamsburg Pottery Factory RV Park, which is a park with many shaded sites, but also many more that have no shade at all. It is closest to Colonial Williamsburg and the "historic triangle." It is a good park and rates were $29.50, less the Good Sam discount. RV parks in this part of the country are not inexpensive but there is so much to see that one should not miss it if the opportunity is available. We have also found the roads in Virginia to be very good with few bad places and most of those are being repaired. By this point, we have seen so much history as to make our minds numb! After three nights here we once again turned south, this time returning to Richmond where we traveled south into North Carolina via I-85. RV parks are extremely few in NC and we found one from our directory to have been converted to membership only and another that we saw was not in the directory. I suggest that if you travel in this area you might want to call your chosen RV park prior to your arrival. We broke our rule of 200 miles or less per day and traveled all of the way to Charlotte before we found a suitable RV park. As people from the wide open west, we found that the constant miles of forested highway ever since entering Kentucky, can become just as boring as can the view of farms or prairies. We chose to stay at the Paramount Carowinds RV Park located on the NC, SC border.
After three lazy days of relaxing, visiting with DD & Rosie Williams, and a little exploration of Charlotte, we returned to the road traveling south on I-77 to Columbia and via I-26 into Charleston, where we settled into the James Island County Park campground. It is as nice as the reputation it enjoys with a price of $28 per night with GS discount. We spent our first day here exploring the areas where we lived in our final Navy years, and visiting the neighborhood where we purchased our first house. It still looks about the same and we even found one neighbor who lived there when we owned it! We also spent three days seeing the sites and another just relaxing.
Sept. 13 found us once again on the road. We followed US17 south nearly to Beaufort, SC where we joined I-95 to travel across Georgia and on to Jacksonville, Fl. where we again left the interstate to go to Mayport and stay at Hanna Park. Hanna Park is a Jacksonville City park and it is a wonderful place to stay. The cost is only $16 per night for full hook-ups and the campground in in heavy timber with a great beach about two blocks distance away, still inside of the park. We will definitely stay here again! This stop was just for a vacation, as even we retirees need one occasionally. We stayed three nights and did no sightseeing at all. Mostly we lounged on the beach and went for walks.
On Sept. 16 our route once again traveled south on I-95 to Daytona Beach where we changed to I-4 on over to Orlando. At this point we left the big road behind at exit #58 to travel east on US192 through Kissimmee and St. Cloud where US441 joined. We continued on to Holopaw where we followed US441 south 15 miles to Williams Rd. and then east 1 mile to the game check station. We stayed here until Dec. 12, when we returned to the road and headed south on US441 to Lake Okeechobee, where we stopped to visit our friends Libby & John Veach.
After a nice visit we headed north along the Florida coast to Pensacola, where we visited the Naval Air Museum and also an old friend. While here we also got to meet the Hammers. Our next stop was at Biloxi, MS to finally meet Lee & Margi Parmeter. From there we traveled west to Baton Rouge where we took US190 west to Livingston, TX. We ultimately arrived at Rainbow's End, the Escapees national headquarters where we stayed for two weeks.
After spending Christmas and New Years with our fellow Escapees, we traveled south on US59 to Houston and then south on TX288 to Lake Jackson and then to San Bernard Natl. Wildlife Refuge. We stayed on the refuge for six weeks and then took TX35 south to Rockport, TX and Fulton Mansion State Historic Site.
After six weeks at Fulton Mansion, we once again headed north. We visited Fredericksburg, TX for two days and then headed up US281 to Stephenville and then via US377 to our Texas stop at the Davis property near Granbury. Thus our fourth year ends with us parked exactly where it began.
Last Updated on Monday, 31 December 2007 18:00