Weather: High 53/Low 30, Cloudy morning, sunny late afternoon
The drive to the factory was less than five hours! Cindy thought we were going to have another marathon drive day. We stopped at ATC Trailer and unloaded the Jeep. The trailer is awesome but there is a slight raised area in the center of the floor and Ken wanted them to look at it and see if it was an easy fix. They close the shop early on Friday afternoon, so we didn’t get to talk to anyone and we had lunch in their parking lot. Cindy followed Ken in the Jeep to the factory just a few miles away. We have a full tank of fresh water, 50 AMP service and thank goodness the AquaHot Diesel heat is NOT one of the items that needs repair! We have very limited internet service and for us techno geeks, this is a very bad thing.
Weather: High 54/Low 36, Cloudy and cold
NPS Stop 8-Hopewell Cultural National Historic Park: https://www.nps.gov/hocu/index.htm
The Visitors Center was not officially open but we were able to talk to a Ranger. We grabbed brochures, stamps and trail maps and began our discovery of the Hopewell Culture. The ancient American Indian mounds were originally discovered on the Hopewell farm, where the first mound was discovered, hence the choice of the name. Archeologists have dug up all sorts of things left from these peoples in what appears to be burial mounds. Some of the buried items came from far away and must have been traded with other groups. The artwork and sculptures tell us something about the life in this time. What is really interesting is that there are several areas of ancient mounds and the size and shape of them is very similar. Where these people nomads? If not, why are there so many groups of mounds built in a like configuration? We thought this area looked a bit familiar and looking back at our stamps, we did visit this site in 2019.
Weather: High 62/Low 39, Sunny morning with some drizzle in the afternoon
The trip from SC to OH was filled with pretty views, trees in bloom with white and purple flowers, lots of construction, truckers and hills. Everything was going as planned for the 400+ miles until we got to within 5 miles of the campground. We are technology geeks and operate 3 GPS devices when we travel. This time the GPS’s didn’t agree which exit to take, two said the first exit and the other one said to take the next exit. We took the first exit because two minds are better than one, right? Well… this took us down a narrow country road and we had to crawl under an overpass marked 13’ 9”. We heard the radio antennae tap the underside of this overpass but no other bad noises. Phew, we cleared this one. We continued on about a mile or so and then there was THE SIGN, “LOW CLEARANCE, 10’ 2”!!! YIKES! We started looking for a place to turn around our monster RV and trailer and guess what? There was a sign that said ‘…Take a left here and go back out to the highway…’ and we did. Obviously, this happens frequently and the neighbors who happened to be outside just stared at us as we passed (probably thinking, there goes another one who followed their GPS).
We got back on the highway and went under the 13’ 9” overpass again and followed the GPS who did not agree with the other two. We poked along and low and behold, we see the same “LOW CLEARANCE, 10’ 2” sign. You can imagine what Ken said! We pulled over on the side of the road to figure out how we were going to turn around again and then find the campground. A gentleman came over to us and asked us where we were going and gave us directions. We also called the campground and got very vague directions, basically, keep going down the road, don’t make any turns if your GPS says to, look for the blue house on the left and our driveway is opposite it. We did find the blue house and campground. We did not find the low clearance obstacle. Lesson learned: If the GPS’s do not agree, listen to the one in the RV which is specialized for trucks, even if it takes a longer route.
Our site is on top of a hill and is very quiet. We have plenty of space to keep the trailer connected and unload the jeep for exploring tomorrow. We do not have internet or cell service for the first time. We forgot how spotty service can be in the mountains. Oh well, the birds singing outside are wonderful.
4/12 to 4/14/21 - We stayed at the Iron City Campground in Blacksburg, SC. It is a new campground and has large pull through sites for any size big rigs and is also affiliated with Passport America. The site that we had accommodates two campers each with their own water, sewer and electric. Lisa, the owner was friendly, and very accommodating and took me on a quick tour to make sure that we would be comfortable on our site.
If you want to visit the National Park Units in the area, I would highly recommend Iron City Campground.
Here is a list of the parks we visited in the area: Kings Mountain National Military Park, Carl Sandburg National Historic Site, Cowpens National Battlefield, and Ninety Six National Historic Site.
Weather: High 77/Low 52, Sunny morning, cloudy afternoon
NPS Stop 6-Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site, NC: https://www.nps.gov/carl/index.htm
Carl Sandburg was a very famous author and moved to this location so that he could have a quiet place to write. This beautiful 240+ acre property provided the perfect setting for him and his family in the hills of South Carolina. We enjoyed walking around the property and seeing the goats which Carl’s wife, Lillian bred to become award winning milk producers. Carl enjoyed writing, music and evening walks and created multiple trails which we can enjoy today. Bailey enjoyed our two mile choice of trails.
Weather: High 77/Low 52, Sunny morning, cloudy afternoon
NPS Stop 7-Cowpens National Battlefield, SC: https://www.nps.gov/cowp/index.htm
This battlefield was named for the cow pens that were on the property before the start of the American Revolution. Cindy didn’t realize how many people and battles were involved in getting our freedom from England. This site was chosen by the commander because of its geographical features. We took the 1.5 mile flat walking tour first and read about what happened during this battle and how it was fought. The strategic details of these battles baffles me but the results are etched in history. The trail is covered by tall trees and provided nice shade. The path was covered with recycled rubber and Bailey enjoyed its bounce and stayed on the trail with us. Then we took the driving tour around the battlefield to get the big picture. There is a log cabin built by Robert Scruggs who farmed the land many years after the battle. We can image farming this piece of property but had difficulty in imagining a family with 11 children living in this small cabin.
We had a short travel day today about 150 miles so there was no rush to get up early and be on the road before sunrise. River Bottom Farms Family Campground was very quiet after all the families left who were on spring break. It is a very nice campground and the grass was so nice on our site that we didn’t even put our mat down. The drive to Blacksburg was full of construction on I85. I’m so glad Ken loves driving this big rig between those Jersey barriers and orange cones. Check-in at Iron City Campground was at 2:00pm, so we stopped at a rest area and had our first taste at Frogmore Stew that our neighbors gave us. It was very tasty and goes by several names. Thank you to our friends from Moncks Corner! The terrain is getting more hilly and the tree leaves are popping with new bright green.
Weather: High 82/Low 48, Sunny and breezy
NPS Stop 5-Kings Mountain National Military Park, SC: https://www.nps.gov/kimo/index.htm
Kings Mountain was the site of a very important battle during the American Revolution. Thomas Jefferson called it "The turn of the tide of success." The park Visitors Center was closed but they do offer an audio tour for their 1.5 mile trail. It was very interesting to hear about the battle that went on here and if the outcome of this battle had been different, we would probably be under British rule. This is another pet friendly park and Bailey enjoyed walking it with us. She has been going to bed early and getting up late.
Weather: High 82/Low 57, Sunny
NPS Stop 4-Ninety Six National Historic Site: https://www.nps.gov/nisi/index.htm
This site was the location for one battle during the American Revolution. The quiet little town of Ninety Six did not want to take sides during the battle and were living peacefully among the Cherokee’s but circumstances forced them to take a stand. A fort was constructed by the Loyalists who were faithful to Britain. The fort was never taken in the battle with the Patriots, however the British retreated and burned down the town. This site offers a nice one mile walking tour where you can see remnants and reconstructions of the area. The first southern patriot was killed at this site. Bailey hiked another mile with us today.
4/6 Weather: High 82/Low 54, Sunny
NPS Stop 3-Congaree National Park: https://www.nps.gov/cong/index.htm
Today we went to Congaree and hiked all of the boardwalk that was not covered in water which happens when the river rises but according to locals, dries out quickly. Very interesting to walk among the old trees surrounded by water and 8 feet of mud! We heard lots of different kinds of birds and saw a group of bird watchers on the trail. The self guided tour told interesting stories of the people who lived in this area, Native Americans and bootleggers are on the list. Bailey was able to hike 3 miles with us in this park.
4/8 Weather 81/Low 61, Sunny morning, cloudy afternoon
Today we went back to Congaree and hiked the Kingsnake Trail on the east side. The trail was very well marked and still muddy in spots. This is the kind of mud that sticks to your boots and can be very slippery. We could tell that the water is receding by the wet areas at the base of the trees, unfortunately, it did not recede enough for us to finish the hike. We were able to complete 2.6 miles today with Bailey who did not seem to mind the mud or puddles. We did see a large blue-ish bird but were not able to identify it. We also saw deer and raccoon tracks but no other wildlife.
4/11 Weather: High 79/Low 54, Mostly Sunny
Today we went back, one more time, to Congaree in hopes of hiking the Bluff Trail. It was closed due to a prescribed burn during our previous visits. We were pleasantly surprised to find the whole trail was open and like one ranger said ‘...this is the best trail...’. It is on higher ground, so no mud, and the forest changes from loblolly pines in the beginning to a forest with many types of trees, vines and birds. We were entertained by a woodpecker and heard the songs of many types of birds. An easy 1.8 mile loop and Bailey enjoyed being outside on the trail with us!
The Blog will keep you informed of what is or about to happen and what plans we have on the horizon for future adventures...