Thursday, April 1, 2010

CELEBRATING OUR ANNIVERSARY IN CHARLESTON, SC

Today is our 7th anniversary of full timing.  Has it really been that long?

When we left Sacramento on April 1, 2003, we had around 13,000 miles on Scoopy (purchased one year old).  Subsequent anniversaries:

Near Lone Pine, CA, in 2004 April 1, 2004: Boondocking outside of Lone Pine, California (photo).  Mileage: 32,320.  Yes, we traveled a lot that first year, over 19,000 miles!

EVERYWHERE and EVERY experience was new to us.  We knew nothing about RV’ing, and nothing about our new-to-us motorhome (or any RV, for that matter).  We didn’t know anyone on the road.  It was all new, all the time.  That year, if we stayed 3 nights in one place, it was a long time.  We had many one-night stays.  We were always anxious to see what was over the next hill, and we loved it all, with especially happy memories of the Great Lakes and Niagara Falls.

April 1, 2005: Grand Gulf State Park near Port Gibson, MS.  Mileage: 46,068.  Not quite 14,000 miles that year.  We made our first trip into Mexico, and as far north as Jasper in British Columbia.

April 1, 2006: Desert Trails RV Park (Doc Justin’s hadn’t been built yet), Tucson, AZ.  Mileage: 60,520, almost 14,500 miles.  We went as far south as Mazatlan that year.

Yellow Pine House at Grand Gulf State Park, MS in 2005 April 1, 2007: Tom Sawyer RV Park, West Memphis, AR.  Mileage: 72,575.  We’d slowed down – barely over 12,000 miles.

April 1, 2008: Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park, Fredericksburg, TX.  Mileage: 83,828.  Barely made 11,000 that year.  We planned to visit Memphis, but tornados sent us scrambling back to the west.

April 1, 2009: Placerville Elks Lodge, Shingle Springs, CA.  Mileage: 93,770.  Not even 10,000 miles!  Are we getting old??  

Today: Oak Plantation RV Park, Charleston, SC.  Our mileage went over 100,000 somewhere back in Texas; it now stands at 101,987.  Time to celebrate our anniversary again!

Thanks to my cousin Ron (is my cousin’s son my cousin?), who used to be a carriage tour guide in Charleston, we had a great recommendation for a celebratory dinner: The Fat Hen, not too far from our campground.  We wanted something special, and we got it. 

Mussels a Pistou We began with Mussels a Pistou, mussels in a creamy basil garlic sauce.  They were great, but crusty bread dipped in the sauce had us moaning so loud nearby diners wanted to know what we ordered.

Below left: Odel’s Lamb Shank on Creamy Polenta with Smoked Cherry Compote.

Below: My Shrimp and Grits, a local favorite I’ve been dying to try.
Lamb Shank Shrimp and Grits
No more Lamb Shank No more shrimp and grits

Above, left and right:  Odel and Laurie are senior members of the Clean Plate Club.

Right: It’s our anniversary!  Vanilla Crème Brulee for dessert.

It was an outstanding meal, with friendly service in an appealing atmosphere.  Thanks for the recommendation, Ron.  (And, by the way, we had lunch at Basil!)
Creme Brulee

Last year’s travel was just over 8,000 miles.  I don’t know if we went ANYWHERE we hadn’t already been.  We hardly needed a map to move from one place to another – we knew the route (having frequently traveled it more than once) and knew where we would stay when we arrived.  There is some level of comfort in that – especially since we were returning to places we enjoy – but I began to feel that we were in a rut: enjoyable, but without adventure. 

Laurie in Lake Superior during our first year of travel. The antidote? Go east.  The state map on the side of our slide is only half-filled, and those states have been affixed so long ago that the edges are peeling! 

Since the beginning of 2010, we’ve added 4 states to the map, with more to come.  From Charleston, we plan to head back to Memphis (Odel’s hometown) in May, then east again to visit Odel’s daughter near D.C. at the beginning of June. 

Summer?  The northeast and Great Lakes.  We hope to revisit Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons in fall, before returning the Sacramento in October.  We’ll travel around 15,000 miles on this trip; we’ve traveled 4,400 of them already.

Here is what we had forgotten about traveling to new places: you need maps!  You need to plan ahead!  You need to know when the “busy season” is, and plan accordingly!  We had completely forgotten how much time is spent researching: campgrounds, attractions, weather…

Pools on top of Enchanted Rock in 2008 in the Texas Hill Country. We had also forgotten the excitement of heading to a completely new place.  New scenery, terrain, regional accents and regional foods.  It’s as if we were back in our first year – except that we know every inch, switch and button of the motorhome, and we have friends everywhere we go. 

Every so often (actually, quite frequently), someone asks us if we have any plans to quit fulltiming.  With every passing year, that seems more difficult to imagine, though of course it will happen sometime, either by choice or by necessity.  I can’t imagine how we would ever decide on one spot.  Thankfully, for now, we don’t need to!

10 comments:

  1. Happy Anniversary to you both! We are almost 2 years into FT living and hope to have about 15 more at least. Your past adventures are interesting and I can't wait to read more about your travels the rest of this year!

    Happy trails and safe travels to you!

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  2. I was half way through your blog, reading where you were on the different anniversaries when it dawned on me that this is also our RVing anniversary. April 1st 2001 we pulled out of the driveway in Michigan and started out on our longest adventure.

    I guess the four of us are just a bunch of APRIL FOOLS.

    Thanks for the reminder

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  3. Congratulations you two on your 7 years of full-timing. Wow what adventures you must have had, and yet have so much more to look forward to.
    Happy Trails....

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  4. Don't know if we'll ever make it to fulltiming but if we do I will look forward to seeing much more of the country like you folks have. With our limited 5 winter months each year we are pretty well limited to the warmer southern States only. The southwest is our obvious choice for those months. Great blog today Laurie but those black under sea mussle/clam creatures on your plate kinda gave me the willys......

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  5. Mac & DiannaApril 2, 2010 at 3:57 AM

    Happy RV'ing anniversary. Enjoy the future years discovering new and exciting places.

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  6. Happy anniversary, and great travels ahead.

    Your (1st) cousin's son would be your first cousin once removed. (Your first cousin's child and your child would be second cousins to each other.)

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  7. Hi Laurie,

    Congratulations on your anniversary!

    Do you use the Roadfood book or website to find good restaurants? We've worn out our first copy of Roadfood and haven't been disappointed in any of the restaurants they suggest. They have a lot of great suggestions in the Charleston area. Here is the link to the Roadfood website if you don't already have it. http://www.roadfood.com/

    If you and Odel are up for a little drive, one of my all-time favorite Roadfood restaurants is about 30 miles north of Charleston in Awendaw, SC. It is the SeeWee Restaurant. They have great food. Most is typically southern-a lot of fried stuff (fried pickles!) with an emphasis on great side dishes. They have many good seafood selections, too, if you want lighter fare. Their cakes are fantastic. Here is the link to their website. http://www.seeweerestaurant.com/

    SeeWee is easy to find. It's right on the main highway out of Charleston heading north. (I think it's 17.) One cool thing about the drive to SeeWee is the locals along the side of the road selling their handmade sweet grass baskets. Closer to Charleston, Mount Pleasant, SC has a number of good restaurants you can find listed on Roadfood. One you might like since you liked the Masada Cafe is the Gullah Cuisine. http://www.gullahcuisine.com/ I've never eaten there but it's on my list of places to check out the next time I'm in the area.

    Have fun in Charleston!

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  8. Happy Anniversary. We remember our RV anniversary easier than our wedding. It really is a milestone in life, don't you think?

    Wow, 7 years. Way too cool. I got a laugh out of your mileage logs year by year and how those annual numbers are falling.

    Enjoy your next year on the road. May you never have to stop.

    Jo

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  9. Pamela, stay tuned! We do use the Road Food website, and Gullah Cuisine is on our agenda for Tuesday. We're looking forward to it! Road Food has a special "Charleston Soul Food" (or something like that) road trip, and Gullah is on it, among several others. I'm sure it will turn out to be "blog-worthy". :)

    Thanks for the tip on SeeWee. Right now, Charleston is unbelievably crowded over Spring Break/Easter. I don't know if we will go ANYWHERE this weekend, the traffic tie-ups are SO HORRIBLE! We'll see...

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  10. Jo, funny you should say that. We have forgotten our wedding anniversary many times, but never our anniversary of fulltiming. For us, fulltiming was much more of a change in lifestyle than getting married, so much easier to remember... and ALWAYS a reason to celebrate!

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