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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Santee and Winter

We stopped in Santee, SC last night, arriving just as the sun went down.  There were plenty of spots and we found one with a lake view. We woke up to white caps on the lake and spanish moss blowing sideways in the trees. 

View out our Window
Neighbors without an Agenda

The trip home was easy, but the temperatures told us that we were no longer in Florida. Since it is going to be below freezing tonight we got ourselves into high gear and winterized the systems this afternoon and evening. The manual was clear and I was impressed with the quality of the plumbing layout. We only had to stop once to buy a new tool (a 1 & 1/8 inch socket to empty the hot water tank) and one more time to dump the tanks at an RV park. 
Clearly Labeled Hot Water Heater Bypass

Beth solved a plumbing problem with a little creativity. The flexible sewer hose we bought in Florida didn't fit into the section of PVC pipe that Pleasure-Way supplied for hose storage underneath the van due to some plastic parts that made it easier to grip. We had it in a plastic box under the couch, but didn't want to store it there once it had been used. We cut off the nubbins on the hose and two sections fit in the storage pipe under the RV perfectly. 

Our Mentor

On the way home we called our friend Greg, who had introduced us to Pleasure-Way vans, and he suggested meeting in St Mary's, Georgia.  He and his trusty sidekick James beat us there and reserved two great spots at the end of a dead-end road in the park.

Greg suggested Saint Mary's Seafood & More for dinner and we throughly enjoyed it. The service was friendly and the food was very good. The waitress asked if we were staying somewhere locally and then took 10% off our bill for being at the campground.

Mist filtered in overnight so we didn't see much of the river, but had a good walk with Greg and James through the palmetto forest.  James found a tortoise burrow, but being a great dog, didn't disturb it at all, just let us know it was there.

Now you should know that it is Greg's fault that we bought a Pleasure-Way.  He and his family have had years of adventures in theirs. It was after seeing how well his van has stood up to the travel that we zeroed in on this brand.  One morning last fall he met us for breakfast and patiently answered all of our newbie questions about living and traveling in camper vans.  We owe many thanks to Greg for all his help and advice.

Photography Blind
Foggy Morning on the River

Trail through the Palmettos

James showing us the Tortise Burrow

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Dad Meets Van

** Begin Rant ** One of the unpleasant surprises about van ownership is that condo associations in Florida don't like vans in their parking lots. All of our siblings and parents have condos in Florida and we can't park in any of their lots. We don't want to camp overnight, just visit! ** End Rant **

The Shade of St Paul's
St Paul's United Methodist Church, where my parents attend, was kind enough to let us leave our van in their parking lot while we visited mom and dad. This was dad's first opportunity to see the camping van and he was surprised by how much room we have. We did lots of tent camping and a little backpacking together back in the 1960's so this is comparatively easy living. He told mom that he was happy that their kids are able to do what they wanted. We are blessed to have that freedom.

Beth Gives Dad the Tour

My Dad and I Relaxing in the Van

Fort De Soto Park

We've moved to the gulf side of Florida to visit mom & dad Haskell. Fort De Soto Park was a great location to enjoy the beach and visit. We practically had the park to ourselves. Only one other couple was on the East Beach when we arrived. Scattered showers left us alone, though we could see them over near the Sunshine Skyway.  With all kinds of activities and 238 campsites will definitely return and spend a little more time. More info can be found at the county park website:

Sandpipers outnumbered people on the beach
Beth and Mom trying the new kite

Tanker heads into Tampa Bay and a rain shower

Beth gets her toes wet in December

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