Monday, March 22, 2010


Today is a travel day for us, from Carrabelle to Stephen Foster Folk Culture State Park, about 150 miles.  We’ll be overnighting there, then off to St. Marys, Georgia for a few days – to see the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (swamp) - before we arrive in Savannah.  We have reservations for all of our stays until we leave Charleston; we snagged a spot at Skidaway State Park for Savannah, but James Island County Park was full, so we will be at Oak Plantation for our stay in Charleston (weird that the county park is the more costly!).

Our next reservation, after we leave Charleston on April 4th, is in Memphis, arriving May 2nd.  We have almost a month in between, to travel in areas we are know nothing about.  We would like to see Asheville, NC, and I want to go to the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama (don’t ask me why… I was captivated by the idea from the first time I heard of it, years ago).  I want to visit Oxford, MS – mostly because I’ve heard it is beautiful, but also for the history.

Charleston to Memphis

The route shown on this map – a fairly direct line between the locations I mentioned - is just under 900 miles, about 6 days of driving for us (we average 100-200 miles with each move), so we have plenty of time to deviate.  We know that many of you readers have travelled these states – what advice do you have for us?

We don’t have much interest in big cities.  We like college towns.  In parks, we like space, so often look for state or county parks, or Corps of Engineers – but will pay the price to stay in “special” commercial parks (the waterfront site here at Ho Hum comes to mind) from time to time.  Restaurants?  We like to try regional specialties and to patronize locally-owned spots.  Quality is more important than quantity, and more important than ambiance.  We walk or hike every day, so look for historic or scenic spots that let us stretch out our legs for at least a couple of miles.

We’ve gotten great tips from readers, but usually AFTER we’ve left an area!  This time, I decided to see what we could learn BEFORE we make our plans.  Your suggestions for campgrounds, restaurants, dishes to try, places to hike, sights to see… we welcome them!  What is too good to miss??


  1. I'm sure you know of the Biltmore Estates in Asheville? Amazing flowers this time of the year!

  2. Good Morning Laurie & Odel, I am so excited that you are going to Stephen Foster... We love it there and hope you will too. We usually stay at a place called Tom Sawyers Mississippi RV Park in West Memphis... It is about $35 a night but you're right on the river (we stay in site 72) and can kick back and watch the tugs go by all day... It is just a 10-15 minute drive to downtown Memphis. There are several GREAT restaurants there and I will look them up for you. All I can remember off the top of my head is Uncle Lous...A hole in the wall but some of the best Fried Chicken. This is one of the things I love about blogging is sharing info with each other. Have fun & travel safe!

  3. I'll warn you to check on I-40 between Asheville and Knoxville--may still be closed and the "detour" is over 100 miles to the east/north. I've read great things about campgrounds on the Natchez Trace. Enjoy your leisurely exploration of these parts of the US! (And from my perspective, stay away from Gatlinburg--tourist traps and traffic; the Smokies are beautiful this time of the year).

  4. We stayed at Trace State Park, right off the Natchez Trace, near Tupelo MS last year. It was a beautiful place with great views of the lake from most of the sites. We only spent one night because of commitments down the road, but would like to stay for a longer visit some time - calm, scenic, right off the Natchez Trace. If you wanted to drive up or down the Trace from the state park, it is well worth the time. Lots of trails, history, and a leisurely drive without semi-trailer trucks.

    Roger and Dianne -

  5. We too seem to get great places to see once we have already gone through the area since we usually write after the fact too! We are trying to change it up and let folks know where we are going but it just feels so strange to do that.

  6. As you cross thru the coast of GA...see and get some barbeque at the Georgia Pig at exit 29 of Hwy I-95/US 17. Just outside of not miss the Cypress Gardens.., walkways/trails and you can row a boat along thru the mystical clear black water filled with water lilies and moss. Charleston also has a great farmers mkt. In Asheville, NC take a very short day drive to Carl Sandburgs home. Plenty of areas to walk there and it is really interesting, especially his wife's role in the family life. Have fun.... Sharon and Allan Frey

  7. Odell and Laurie - Great to see you moving around --check out the extreme portion of east tennessee -- Johnson County to be exact -- Mountain city is a wonderful place -- small and I can get you a free space with elec and you would FINALLY get to meet one of your faithful readers - ME!!!!

    Jenny J

  8. Hi Odel and Laurie,

    I enjoy following your adventures as you travel around.
    Your map in this post appears to take you from Asheville, NC west to Knoxville, TN via I-40. I-40 is closed near the TN line due to a massive rock slide. You can take the posted detour of I-26 to I-81 to I-40 which adds about 50 miles but is a beautiful drive. You can also take some other highways through the NC mountains to TN, but these can be very hairy, especially with a large vehicle. The NC welcome centers should be able to give you any info you need about the closure and alternate routes.

    Selene, NC

  9. Be sure to check out central South Carolina's mustardy BBQ pork; Shealy's in Leesville and Hite's a little closer to Columbia are legendary.


  10. I have followed your blog for a while. One of the places that I would like to visit when I'm close to Columbia South Carolina is Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden in Bishopville SC per mapquest Bishopville is 53.18 miles from Columbia SC. See the link below to SCIWAY(South Carolina Information Highway)

  11. I have been on several of the tours in Charleston SC. The Gullah Tour is one that I enjoyed very much. This is a very popular tour for all so if you are interest make your reservations early.
    Link to the tour company.

  12. Mary Lou MontgomeryMarch 22, 2010 at 1:50 PM

    I don't know if you follow Gary and Vicky at We're Wingin' It, . They are from the Tennessee area and I really think he would have some excellent ideas for you. He has been traveling that area for many years. I hope you will contact him through his blog guest book. He has been helpful to me on the area. Good luck, this should be a beautiful time to travel through that area.

  13. Mary Lou MontgomeryMarch 22, 2010 at 2:02 PM

    I just posted another comment about reading a blog called Wingin' It, If you will go to the blog and start about Sept. 7, 2009 you will find posts for just about the same route you are taking. Hope this gives you some ideas.

  14. I second the recommendation for Tom Sawyers RV park in West Memphis. Laid back and rustic park right on the Mississippi River and very convenient to exploring Memphis.

    I'm quite anxious to hear about the Unclaimed Baggage center. It's a place I have always wanted to visit.

    Also what did you think of the Stephen Foster State Park? Will you be doing one of your campground reviews/

  15. I enjoy your blog. From Asheville travel Hwy 74 West to Hwy 64 to Cleveland, TN and then I75 to Chatonooga. A beautiful drive. You might need to check with AAA about US 64 along Lake Ocoee..You should be okay as 18 wheelers travel this route. There are a few interesting places on the road. We pull 31 foot Airstream and have no problems.

    In North Alabama Lake Guntersville State is a lovely campground. Curvy mountain road to park.

    In Tupelo, MS be sure to visit Elvis's birth place and eat at the local resturant he use to eat at....I can't remember its name but vistors center should be able to give you info. Northwest of Tupelo is a beautiful COE park on Bay Springs lake. We have not camped there but did drive through. We hope to stay there this year.

    When you leave Memphis drive north to Tiptonville, Tn and stay at Reelfoot Lake State Park. It is in the middle of nowhere but full of nature. The lake was formed in the 1800's following an earthquake that caused the Mississippi Rive to flow backwards. It is one of our favorite places to camp. Eat Catfish at The Pier in Samburg.

    Have a great trip....Thanks for the tip on HoHum.We will be staying there the end of April.


  16. Hi...just found your blog and will click on to "Follow". We stayed at Ho Hum in 1997 and at that time it was little more than a small park with full hook-ups...but a fantastic view! We were right on the gulf. It was wonderful. If you are going to Charleston try visiting Fort Sumter Nat'l. Mon. We did that back in 1999 and it was great. Have a safe trip!

  17. Did you happen to see the Alton Brown specials Feasting on Asphalt? It might be fun to hit a few of those places.

    No matter what, I'm sure you will have a good time!

  18. We stayed at River Bottom Farms cg in SC, about 45 minutes from Congaree National Park, which recently became a National Park. We are traveling around the USA this year with our 4 children and focusing on visiting many different National Parks. Congaree was different and interesting - enjoy the journey!

    Ali (

  19. Dupont State Forest south of Ashville/Hendersonville has lovely falls (Last of the Mohicans)