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From the Coast to the Capital - catlinye_maker [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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From the Coast to the Capital [Aug. 17th, 2011|02:22 pm]
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It was an easy drive from the Outer Banks to our new campsite north of Raleigh, NC. Which was good, because it was the first drive in over a month which was longer than 200 miles. Our lunch stop was a seafood packing plant with a little fried fish truck surrounded by picnic tables, just past the bridge on the mainland. We got fried oysters, which were delicious but tiny, and a bonus basket of scallops in apology for the itsy bitsy oysters.

As it seems is usual, we were detoured around roadwork while I was behind the wheel. This is always sweaty palms time; an appropriate detour for a car can be positively hair-raising for an RV. We’re 52 feet long under tow, and 12.5 feet tall. It’s why we stick to truck routes whenever possible; if the road is suitable for semi’s it will be suitable for us. And I always fervently hope, when I am directed off the path by a detour, that suitability for the big trucks has been considered. So far so good; we’ve gotten into places where we had to turn around once or twice, but nothing worse (worse, in this case, is either having to push on accepting damage to the rig or having to back out, which can be for miles.) Though the turn arounds did include one vividly memorable time when the directions from the lady at the campground were backwards, and we found ourselves on dirt roads which rapidly petered out, in the dark, making a u-turn – twice. That was the source of some familial tension at the time. Also half of the reason for our hard and fast rule never to come into a campground at night.

The other half of that rule has to do with the corollary to Murphy’s Law that states that our geriatric and frequently failing backup alarm will only work reliably when coming into a crowded campground at midnight. Which is also when the previously smooth process of backing into a campsite will fail, requiring at least four back-in and pull-forward attempts, hooting all the while. Mercifully (not for our neighbors, though) it was Sunday night the one time we did this a couple of years ago, and on Monday we hid stayed in the trailer until pretty much everyone who had witnessed our epic fail had checked out.

Anyway. The detour was uneventful, and the campground (Holly Point at Falls Lake Recreation Area) was pretty easy to find. The campground looks like a former Corps of Engineers campground, taken over by the state. These are the ones which are dotted around the flood control lakes built by the CoE; they’re usually great, and this one is right in line. It has completely wooded sites with good sized gravel yards next to the parking pad. There’s a small swimming beach on each leg of the campground. For all that the Raleigh Durham area is only a few miles away, the campground is very peaceful and mostly empty. I think some of that is the heat; this park is roughly half dry camping sites (no hookups) and half 30 amp. Pretty marginal 30 amp at that; maybe it was the weather but we had to put the water heater on propane and be very careful what electric appliances were running, or we would blow the circuit breaker on the power post.

After two weeks baking at the beach we were glad to get into a wooded site, and the AC was having an easier time keeping the trailer cool, at least until we blew the fuse. There were two other peculiarities at Holly Point, one good and one bad. We were close enough to Raleigh Durham to have 4G service on the aircard, so out in the piney woods we had better internet connectivity than we have had in months anywhere else. That’s the good thing. The bad thing is that North Carolina State Parks lock their campground gates at night. In most states when the campgrounds are locked at night there’s a key code to enter into the electronic gate access pad, or at least a numeric code to open a padlock. Not in NC; either be home before dark or be locked out. Fortunately, when we asked at the gate they were fine with us parking in the small gravel lot next to the entrance; I’ve heard that at some other NC state parks they tow vehicles parked outside the gates.

It turned out that J’s work project in the area fell through (not that they told us that in time to change our plans) but we have friends in the area so it was a nice quiet week visiting them. We made sure both big flashlights were in the truck and walked back from the gate the one night we were out late, and the night S came out for dinner we drove up to the gate and picked him up, so he could leave his car in the outer lot and get home in the evening.

We had the truck in for service, since we had time and some ‘extra’ cash. The AC had been failing for quite a while and would only work on maximum fan, and then only with a lot of finger crossing. Turned out the compressor was eating itself (metal bits in the screens.) We got that fixed, front brakes replaced (they lubed the bearings while they were in there too, which was nice) and had the airbag trouble light checked out and fixed. I took it to Capital Ford and they did a great job.

Other than that, I got a lot of quilting done, we walked down to the lake and swam in the (very) warm water, went to the movies and out to dinner with our local friends, and in general had a very peaceful week.