Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Pines to Palms Route

We left you last as Hurricane Matthew was roaring north up the eastern US coast,
and we were roaring south along the same coast.
In between was our home on the NC coast...

First - our home is fine.
Second - so are we.

I had chosen our route from Maine to Fla to take us inland, heading south on
I-81 then back to the coast on I-26 at Columbia SC, and then back down the coast
on I-95 to South Fla.

I had to do some rescheduling as one of our stops called and left me a message
that they were evacuating inland and the RV Park was closed.

No problem...  all part of the Journey.

Campground Reviews

Many of you email me asking about campgrounds at which we stay,
and I know that many of you use the blog for your own trip research, so let me try to be
a bit more formal about trying to get that info included.
Here is a synopsis of our other stops on the way south.
(sorry no pictures)

After Normandy Farms we had a 530 mile drive south to the
Shenandoah Valley Campground
Exit 269 On I-81  Mt Jackson, Va.

A nice overnight stop, we had a long pull thru with FHU and stable 50amp.
Campground Reviews gives it a 7.8 and for an overnight stop - I'd say that is fair.
As a destination stop I'd give it a 6.9 or 7.
We only hooked up electric and had good Verizon signal.
As an aside - they have a small kitchen where they supposedly smoke meats,
unfortunately it was not running when we passed thru.

The Fort Chiswell RV Park.
Our next stop was just 180mi south in Ft Chiswell, Va.

Those of you who travel the Blue Ridge area might recall the town.
Next to Wytheville and the Truckstops at the I-81/I-77 junction,
the campground is conveniently located for either interstate.

FHU and stable 50amp.   Pull thru long enough to stay hooked up.
Campsite Reviews gives it an 8.3 and I just dont get that one at all.
As an overnight park I'd give it perhaps 7.4.
As a destination 6.5
Certainly fine for an overnight stop and very convenient.

We finally hooked up here to drain tanks and refill water as its been a week or so.

The Barnyard RV Park
Lexington, SC - a Columbia Suburb

About 3 hrs from Ft Chiswell, we stopped here because our planned stop further down the road
had evacuated due to Matthew and was closed.

A nice park behind a large fleamarket - again for me not a destination park but fine for overnight.
My site was not long enough to stay hooked up.
FHU and 50amp.   Good Verizon signal.
We only hooked up electric.
Some spots in the park were a bit tight for maneuvering but not a big deal.
I'd rate it about the same at Ft Chiswell.   
RV Park reviews says 7.5 which is fair in the overnight category.

Treasure Coast RV Park
Ft. Pierce, Fl.
We've been here before.   A very nice park.
Long Pull-thrus and back in sites.
FHU 50amp solid Verizon signal.
RV Park Reviews gives them 9.3   I'd give it about 8.5 which is still good.
It is definitely a destination park with lots of snowbirds in winter.

Now back to the story

After leaving the Barnyard, we headed Southeast on I-26 from Columbia to the coast,
 and then I-95 south from there.
Along the way damage from the storm was evident everywhere.
Trees down had been cut and cleared.
At one point low hanging branches actually scraped the roof of the Bus as we passed by.

Our initial Florida destination was CB Smith Park in Broward County.
Our friends Marcel & Michaela were flying in from Switzerland and we came here
in order to first spend time with them in the Miami area.

CB Smith is a county park in Pembroke pines.
FHU with 50amp and decent sized spaces and spacing.

And it comes with a herd of Iguanas.
The little critters were changing color and running all over the place. 

We surprised Marcel & Michaela at the airport.
Soon they were visiting us at the park and taking the Doodles for a stroll. 

A view back towards our bus.

Visiting in the bus.

We braved the traffic to visit M&M over at their hotel in Miami Beach.
The Miami traffic is horrendous but the view from the hotel was wonderful.

A self portrait on the balcony.

We had a wonderful Sunday morning brunch on the patio outside the hotel.
An amazing assortment of foods was enjoyed in this beautiful tropical oceanside setting.

After several days in Miami we headed 150 miles south to the keys.
Traveling over the 7 mile bridge.

Bluewater Key RV Resort

Ok... one more park review.
This place is beautiful.   Beautiful Landscaping with FHU and Cable.
All the sites are privately owned and leased at the owners discretion.
Each site therefore is individual in nature with different landscaping and amenities.

The view of our site

In between the roads is a nice park with picnic area.
This was taken right by our site.

This is the view standing next to the door of the bus.
We had a nice Tiki hut with curtains that could be pulled down to
block wind or rain if needed.
It also had a sink and refrigerator.

Kate & Lucy enjoy the view

A Doodle gets reflective...
or is she hunting for fish?

We took some nice swims right from the dock.

Bluewater is truly a great park.
It is like Las Vegas Motorcoach Resort on a tropical island.

Into Key West to see the sights.
Below is the Customs House.

A cruise ship was in town so we had several thousand extra people running about.

Fortunatley it made a 130 departure.
It was funny watching the thousands of folks heading zombie-like 
all at once headed back to the ship.

We stopped and spent a little time at Smathers Beach on the south shore of Key West.


I'm not quite sure what the deal is, but there are a lot of chickens running
around Key West.
It further makes me ask: 
"why do they cross the road?"

Tonight we again said goodbye to Marcel & Michaela.
In the morning we head to Disneyland - Ft Wilderness Campground,
they head to MIA to board a Lufthansa A380 to Frankfurt.

Its always sad to say goodbye to our good friends 
but as Marcel says to Kate when she is sad saying goodbye:
"The end is always the beginning of the next adventure."

See you soon my friends.


  1. That Bluewater Key Resort is awesome. We checked it out the last time we were in that area. It is Beautiful! Safe travels you guys! Sue B

  2. Yep... I agree Sue. Close to as good as it gets.


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