Today is day 61 of our travels. It’s hard to believe we have been gone for two months already. We are not yet at our halfway point of this summer journey.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina was our next stop after Savannah. We pulled into the RV park, and I was in amazement. Up to this time we had been in small parks. I assumed most parks were on the smallish side. Not this one! We were at Lakewood RV Resort. First of all, I’m not sure why it’s called Lakewood, because it is actually ocean side. I had to do a count of RV slots on their map, and the number is, drum roll please . . . 1,714! Yes, almost 2,000 RVs could park in this place at once! It wasn’t 100% booked, but it was full. There was a water park with swimming pool, water slides, and lazy river. Our RV was parked only about a block from the beach, and they owned 1/2 mile of the beach front. There were a couple ice cream shops, and golf cart rentals. This park, by far, was a family vacation wonderland. There were a lot of big rigs there along with families that also pitched a tent next to their RV for overflow. We loved being able to walk the beach, and return for a cup of yummy ice cream. Everything there was very laid back. Everyone was friendly and seemed to be enjoying themselves no matter what age. We stayed at this park for 4 days.
It was time to move on to Charlotte, North Carolina. I have been there once for two days for company training in January of 2007. I was either in a hotel or at the company site, so I didn’t get to experience Charlotte at all. We stayed the first two nights on the south part of town at the McDowell Nature Preserve. It was a beautiful place. We were excited about hiking one of the trails to the lake, but the trail was not marked well at all, and we ended up on the main road. It was still a nice walk, albeit that we had to stay on the shoulder of the road as cars came zooming past us. The following day we decided to visit the Michaelangelo Sistine Chapel exhibit. When we arrived to the location we were sure we were lost. The building was possibly an old school building that had shut down, nothing around it was very commercial or inviting. Another couple arrived about the same time, and they assured us that we were at the right place—the signage was there—but we had to walk around the building to find the entrance. Once inside, it was a lovely exhibit. The room got quite crowded and it was a really hot day, so the warmth was generating in the room. We were there long enough to see everything. We stopped on our way back to our RV for a nice steak dinner. Traveling in an RV, we don’t do a lot of meals in restaurants, so this was a special treat. The meal, steak cooked to perfection, baked potato, and roasted brussel spouts, was delicious.
The following day we moved our RV north of Charlotte, but still in the area. We were in Statesville, North Carolina. There are some large lakes in that area and a lot of boats around. Our RV park was oddly placed off the highway, and took a little ingenuity to find. After setting up the our little home on wheels, we drove down to the Billy Graham Library. I have always wanted to see it. It was worth every penny. Okay, let me correct that. The admission was free. The grounds are strikingly beautiful, and going through this renovated barn following the ministry of Billy Graham was so interesting.
As we walked out at almost closing time, I wanted to walk by Billy and Ruth’s graves. One of the security guards was walking and talking with us. He told me if he would have been asked to sing at Billy’s funeral, he would sing the song, “I’m a Winner Either Way.” Then he broke out in song. What a wonderful singing voice he had.
I thought he was finished, but he wasn’t so I quickly turned my camera back on. I am so sorry I didn’t get this gentleman’s name, because I have to say, he made my visit to the library extraordinary.
The following day, we took as a lay back and relax day—we need those every so often on the trip. We went to the pool at the RV park, but it was not terribly clean nor did it have lounge chairs, so I sat on the edge with my feet in for a little while, and went back to relax in the RV. That evening we drove back into Charlotte to have dinner with a former coworker of mine. It was delightful to see her again after so many years.
The following day we moved to Natural Bridge, Virginia. I had no ideas where or what that was. This destination was selected by Dennis. What a great place. We got our RV settled, and then drove over to the Natural Bridge State Park. We took the 2 mile walk (round trip) to see the bridge. The hardest part of the walk was the 137 steps to take down and then back up from the location. They had large landings after a few steps, so it was really not a big deal.
The Natural Bridge is exactly what it is named. This is not a man-made structure, but a God-made structure! This limestone bridge is 215 feet high, 40 feet thick, 100 feet wide and spans 90 feet between the walls. U.S. Highway 11 crosses over this Natural Bridge. George Washington surveyed this bridge in 1750, when he was 18 years old. As many 18 year olds do, he climbed the rock about 23 feet up and carved his initials in the rock wall, which can still be seen today. In 1774, Thomas Jefferson purchased the bridge and 157 acres around it from King George III of England for 20 shillings (about $2.40). Quite a bargain, I would say!
After our beautiful hike, we drove to the town of Lexington, VA, for dinner at a lovely diner in their old downtown area. The buildings are beautiful and pristine in this little city. The following day we left Natural Bridge and drove our way up to Martinsburg, West Virginia. We stayed at a pretty primitive RV park, but then we don’t need anything but utility hookups. It would not be where I would want to bring a family. There were no picnic tables, no playground or pool — actually, there was nothing but grassy RV spots. It could be a lovely park if the owners wanted to do something with it, but I guess that would take too much work.
We spent the next several days visiting with my sister, who lives in Ranson, WV, and her son, daughter-in-law and family who live in Charles Town, WV. Do not confuse that with Charleston, WV—two different cities across the state from each other. We have toured this area before. My sister lives about a 15 minute drive to Harper’s Ferry. If you have not been there, there is a lot of Civil War history there and in Charles Town (the city where they hung John Brown). Our time was spent with family. We ate lots of food, played lots of cards, had lots of laughs, and felt lots of love.
Today, we left West Virginia, and just arrived in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. We will spend several days in this state seeing places I have been wanting to see. Those will be in another chapter of this trip across the U.S.A.