Thursday, September 22, 2011


NOTE:  I am having a load of trouble formatting with Blogger, I may have to switch blog formats if they continue to refuse to fix their problems.  If this turns up formatted badly, I am very sorry. I have fought with this editor for what seems like hours. I give up!  Here goes, I will try to correct it again, but if it insists on making a mess of my writing, I am clueless what to do next. 

I think I have the blog loading much faster now. At least it was loading OK on my slow internet. But today I am on super fast internet, as I am near my old hometown of Greenville, South Carolina visiting friends. I am driveway camping. I've used an adapter to convert my RV's 30amp electrical plug to a household 15amp plug.  

In January 2010, while I was still super sick, my friend was not yet disabled.  I was camping in his driveway, in my wheel estate, fighting for my life. One night I laid in bed in my RV, with all the window shades up, watching it snow in South Carolina, a most unusual occurrence. As dawn broke, I snapped this picture from my bed. I've sure come a long ways since!  At that time I had just bought my RV in December, the month before. I had yet to go anywhere with it at all. I remember daydreaming endlessly about getting well, getting strong, getting on the road. While my health is still a chronic problem, I've managed to  learn all about driving and living in 28 feet. 

Yesterday, before plugging into their outside outlet, I made sure everything in my wheel estate was completely unplugged from any motorhome outlets inside. Anything prewired with switches, I made sure they were off. Then I hooked up to their electricity, allowing my refrigerator to change from propane to 110.  I have to be mindful that I don't do anything silly like try to run the air-conditioner, electric hot water, coffee pot and microwave all at once. If my automatic battery charger (it runs off 110 to recharge the 12volt house batteries) has an on/off switch, I've never found it. So it kicks in when it deems the battery needs a charge. I believe it is around 45 watts.  So I've switched my hot water off, even though it only draws 400 watts. I don't need it but I can fire up the propane if I do. 

Overnight it was super muggy and sticky due to recent rains, so I was able to run the air conditioner and the refrigerator all night. I had only slept 4 hours the night before, so I was plenty tired. I tried sleeping with the windows open, but it was so muggy, I was so tired, that I switched on the A/C after locking up the windows and doors. 

This was a spur of the moment trip. One friend who is disabled needed some help at their home, another was having a 50+ birthday with no plans. So Harley and I took about 20 minutes to get the motorhome organized.  Yeah, that little dog is loads of help. He follows me around watching the signals that travel is imminent. Of course he wants to go for walks, play ball and do anything but help me get ready. Yet once we are prepared to drive away, he gleefully jumps into his seat, then watches the scenery go by, until we get to the interstate. He doesn't care for the interstate scenery. 

Finally we cut loose from  the umbilical cord, then rolled down the country roads. Usually I prefer the highways and byways, but today we did 40 miles of our 60 miles trip down the interstate so I could look for gas prices. Usually I check out the Gas Buddy Map for gas prices before I travel, but today I had forgotten. I did know that South Carolina would be far cheaper than Georgia gas prices.  

In Georgia they started out at $3.45.  Past the state line into South Carolina they dropped to $3.24 then $3.19 then $3.15 at a Pilot Flying J in Piedmont South Carolina. We pulled over and filled up the hungry tank.  I estimated I needed half a tank, which would be 30 gallons, but I prepaid for nearly 40 gallons. Imagine how surprised I was when the tank took exactly 30 gallons to fill it back up. I went back in to get my refund from the cashier. What a treat, a refund from a prepaid gas purchase. 

I guess I've driven this beast around enough now, to figure out how much gas I need when, as lately I try to guess how many gallons will fill it up, then see how close my estimate comes.  Lately my estimate has been miraculously close.  I so hate to get below a half of tank because of potential emergencies. My thinking is, if you plan for the what-ifs, they rarely happen, but if they do, you aren't totally devastated because you have planned ahead. Just in case. 

I hate to get below a half of tank of gas, unless I know I am going to be in a cheaper gas price region very soon. I've been through fires, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and boat disasters. I was once plucked off a turtled catamaran in the Pacific Ocean after spending a very long day with a friend and one life jacket. 

Two people, one jacket, an upside down boat and 10 hours of drifting, wishing for rescue. You could say I learned a lot that very day about life, mortality  and being better prepared in the future for potential mishaps. 

In June 2010, when I broke down (stuck brake caliper that was heating up) I was in 100F degree weather with nearly 100% humidity. Luckily the dog and I had loads of gas in the tank, so we were able to run the generator and air-conditioning while it took 3 hours for help to arrive in the form of a tow truck. 

That night when we were towed and  parked outside a locked gate,  in an industrial area for future repairs in the morning, we tried life with just the windows open, but the dog had his tongue out dripping and my clothes quickly became soaked in sweat. We closed up the windows, turned on the generator and air conditioning, then slept through the night with creature comforts. The week before I had just installed a Carbon Monoxide Detector.  I never dreamed I would rely on it so quickly. 

In case you are wondering, a generator puts out deadly exhaust like any engine. Should anything go wrong, the frightening alarm from the Carbon Monoxide Detector would hopefully save our souls. 

Last spring I applied to work for FEMA as an emergency worker in the event of disaster. I reasoned with my self-contained motorhome, my vast experience with disasters coupled with my business experience and my willingness to travel on a moment's notice,  would make me an excellent candidate. But no, they were looking for a corporate type employee and I didn't fit the profile. I really think FEMA missed the boat on this. 

So yesterday, was a spur of the moment trip. What fun!  Since my disabled friend knew my birthday friend, we decided to invite him out to dinner at Hibachi Grill and Buffet. When I made the call to issue the last minute invitation, I got his voice mail. I didn't really issue an invitation but rather made an announcement.  "I'm on my way down the road to so-and-so's house, so we can both take you out to dinner for your birthday!"  My friend would know I was coming 60 miles from my workamping at Hartwell Lake in Georgia. I was hoping it would impress him enough to get his rear end ready for a surprise treat. 

By the time I was only minutes away from  Greenville, my friend had received the message, calling back to say he was cleaning up, changing clothes and would be over shortly to meet us. . He was thrilled at the invitation. He very rarely gets to dine out and had never been to this restaurant. 

Harley was delighted and thrilled to see two of his human buddies plus the cat, who has become friends with. He was wildly excited trying to shower love and doggy kisses on humans and feline. We laughed "Yuck!  Doggy germs!"  like Lucy so often said in all the Peanuts films featuring Charlie Brown.

By the time we made it to the buffet, I realized it had been over 8 hours since I had eaten last. Oh my gosh. Oink oink oink!  We made piglets out of ourselves. 

The food at the buffet is about 80% Asian and 20% southern. The treats were awesome with large assortments of sushi, stir fries, meats, seafoods, veggies, salad bar, a custom grill-to-order and a ridiculously large dessert bar. 

Dining out is a very rare exotic treat for me.  Ditto for my birthday friend, who is gallantly struggling through college at 50+ years of age while trying to juggle two teenagers, an older home, a lazy dog and chronic unemployment. The kids were visiting elsewhere for the night, so they didn't go with us. A fourth person had been invited to the impromptu party as well, so we all had a grand time. 

My birthday friend had a plate full of desserts, as we had all declared this was one night when healthy diets flew out the window in exchange for pure gluttony. The restaurant played their hilarious version of Happy Birthday over their loudspeakers. It was rather comical, as it was a very strange version we had never heard before. 

If you find yourself in the greater Greenville, South Carolina area, looking for camping, I have stayed at both Paris Mountain State Park and  Rainbow RV Park. 

If you want sheer beauty and natural nature, stay at Paris Mountain State Park. If you want to be super close to shopping, then stay at Rainbow RV Park. Both are about 10 minutes from the heart of Greenville in South Carolina. 

Click to enlarge this map of the Greater Greenville area in South Carolina. 
(B) is Rainbow RV Park 

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1 comment:

  1. We have stayed several times in friends driveways/property but have never hooked up to shore power. I am always afraid of messing up there power. So if necessary, we just run the generator.

    On our built in battery charger(which is part of the inverter) you can keep hitting the allowed amp draw until it says 0, which effectively turns the charger off. I use that setting every once in awhile.


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