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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

What a Warm Welcome!

~Thursday, April 13, 2023~

Day 1,034 (Travel Day)

There was a pretty good downpour last night, so we’re back to puddle hopping around our campground. We were hoping to see a few more turtle families on our way out of Anastasia State Park, but maybe they were all out for a swim lesson day with mom. Making our way out of Florida, we were really looking forward to seeing the Bachers and the Alonzis today in South Carolina! The last time we connected with them was a few months ago in Orlando (a quick overnight stop for us on our way to The Keys). Now we’ll all be one big happy clan again in Yemassee, South Carolina, staying at a Thousand Trails Campground called The Oaks at Point South. Both families are TT members, we are not. For large families like theirs, the membership pays for itself in no-time making it a very affordable year-round camping option. For us, it doesn’t quite fit in to how we like to travel since we tend to let our sightseeing dictate over WHERE we camp. But we’re grateful that Thousand Trails allows “outsiders” like us, to lodge with them a few nights. A full hookup site is about $90/night for non-members (about $55 over our nightly budget). Because we always manage to stay well within our budget, it’s times like these we can splurge a little bit which in this case was for 3 nights. With our home search in North Carolina around the corner we needed to get a move on anyway.

The 220-mile drive on I-95 today went pretty smooth, except for the roadways. As we put Florida in our rear view mirror and crossed the state line into Georgia, it didn’t take long to notice the difference between the 2 states.

Even though Florida is considered part of The South, it seems like it’s its own world in so many ways, almost too perfect, aesthetically. Everything’s manicured and the roadways appear flawless, contrasting with the pothole infested, uneven roadways that so much of The South has. Even though there’s much to love about Florida, we’ve come to learn it’s not all about Disney, rum punch and beaches. In fact, Florida was a contender for us initially in putting down new roots. But after being immersed in the state and talking to locals, we now know the real deal….threats of severe weather, exhorbitant home prices, a looming climate crisis and major road congestion were enough to change our minds. Unfortunately, I think a large group of people are going to be left “holding the bag” one day. Seriously, you gotta think about this stuff when relocating.

As we drove further northeast, it was only natural for the landscape to change somewhat……fa wider variety of trees, more densely forested. We especially liked the ones that seemed column like as they flanked the highway making it almost feel tunnel like. The marshes remain, filling in whatever the trees don’t, nearly at the same elevation as the highway. No wonder it was a little disconcerting to receive a flood warning while traveling through Georgia. Evidently, much of the east is under some type of flood advisory. And I swear to you, not more than 2 minutes later, we got another warning, this one being a tornado watch about 100 miles east of our location. Nuts! Somehow we have our guardian weather angel with us most of the time to dodge all this crazy weather. Let’s hope she’s still with us as we venture into Illinois in May (prime tornado season).

It was great to see a familiar face right upon our arrival to the campground. While I was checking us in, there was our friend Derek Alonzi doing some work remotely in the campground’s clubhouse due to a poor wi-fi signal. Hmm…I guess Starlink and tall trees don’t mix. Nice that all the sites were pull-throughs and that all have full hookups! Aesthetically, it wasn’t the nicest campground, but we had the advantage of a nice site at the END of the loop giving us more space and a forest view. Derek said non-members tend to get the better sites since they’re paying more. Well there ‘ya go!

As we were setting up camp, we had the usual kiddie interest in Sadie which eventually leads to us meeting the parents. Directly across from us was a young family from Charlotte, North Carolina. They are on a big cross country trip making their way toward California while homeschooling their kids like so many RV families do. Apparently, they have been extremely happy with North Carolina for the last 10 years, having lived in Ohio prior to that. Hopefully we’ll be able to pick their brain a little bit more about NC as I believe it was a sign that we met them in the first place. Next was the welcoming committee of the Alonzi and Bacher kids coming by to say “hi”, eager to tell their parents that “Jeff and Inger are here!” That certainly made our day. It was so good to see everyone again!

Between set up and catching up with the 2 families, we barely managed to squeeze in dinner. But there’s always time for a campfire! The Bacher’s would play host since they had the “the clam” in case it rained (a huge bug tent that easily fits 10). Now that we’ll be in bug country from here on out, we’ll definitely be keeping this one in mind since the one we currently have was purchased out of desperation at a local Wal-Mart, months ago. You get what you pay for.

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