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Best Laid Plans [Aug. 25th, 2011|08:20 am]
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The very next post after I finish railing about coming into campgrounds in the dark and how we never do that, where do I find myself? Pulling into a campground at 10 pm at night. *Sigh* “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,” one supposes.

We left Raleigh in early August and drove back to Chippokes State Park for a few days. Our friends from Richmond came out for an evening. It’s been so hot lately that I’ve been staying denned up in the RV; I was really glad that the day our friends were able to come out it was actually moderate, even cool enough that we sat around the campfire in the gloaming for a while. The next day was another scorcher; we drove to Colonial Williamsburg with the intent to tour a bit in the morning, but it was so hot we opted for lunch out instead and came back and immersed ourselves in that excellent pool, for which we were properly grateful.

The afternoon before we were due to leave for DC J’s boss called (at 5 pm, naturally) with the news that he was wanted in Florida. Jacksonville, he thought, and no later than Wednesday, thankyouverymuch. We looked at the distance (roughly 625 miles, if Jacksonville really was our destination) and concluded that we could just make it if we headed out that night. So instead of light sewing and picking up for the next day that evening, we launched into a whirlwind of activity. Fed the cats early and packed with speed, dumped on the way out of the park, and were on the road just about 7 pm. That was enough time to do all the slower back roads driving (with a hasty stop at Burger King for dinner) and get onto 95 before we had to stop for the night.

On the drive down I made all the needed phone calls; called the campground in DC to change the reservation, called the friends we'd made plans with to cancel, called another friend in the area and threw myself on her mercy to stop and get our mail from the aforementioned DC campground, and called the rest of the places and people we'd arranged to see and cleared our schedule.

The Allstays app on the iPhone made it easy to find a campground right off the highway. The best option turned out to be a KOA a half mile off of I-95 in Enfield, NC, but the office was closed when we called for a reservation. Fortunately, the campground turned out to be perfect for our purposes. There were two rows of pull-through sites with water and electric in front of the office, and the late night instructions (on the whiteboard on the office porch) were clear and welcoming. The front sites were empty, so there was no worry about waking everyone else up. We walked the site by flashlight, pulled in, put down the stabilizers and chocks to settle the rig, plugged in the AC and collapsed for the night. We only ran out two of three slides, since the entertainment slide (next to the kitchen counter) is a little fussy.

Of course the next morning I was brushing my teeth when I heard a scrabbly sort of noise (frequent in our life with the cats) and noticed that Mercedes was acting anxious and upset (rare.) I looked where she was looking, but couldn’t see anything. In fact, I couldn’t see Lilibelle at all. I was pretty confident what had happened, and sure enough when I went and looked, Lilibelle had fallen (or jumped, more likely) into the gap between the kitchen counter and the entertainment slide. There’s a nice wide space (about six inches) between the counter and the slide but it’s walled off in front by the frame around the slide, so there’s really no way out at ground level. I hoisted myself up onto the counter and tried reaching down to her, but couldn’t get a good angle or grip, especially since she hates to be picked up and would undoubtedly freak out (more). I finally went and got the bolsters we use to block the bedroom slide openings and set them up as a pillowy ramp, and in short order she scrambled her way up and across the sink to get out.

J worked while I drove the next day; we made sure to get out early enough to get into Jacksonville in daylight, and we were able to find a very nice county park, not too far from his work. Hanna Park is scenic and jungly with narrow winding roads and I was very happy to get in around 6 pm, well before dark. We got a pull-though site with 50 amp service and full hookups; the rig brushed the hanging branches aside as we pushed our way into the site and settled into our jungle paradise. The site is sandy and unlevel enough to require lynx levelers stacked three high, which is pretty much our limit. But it’s a very pretty place. Wet and humid as all get out, but pretty.

My only real complaint is that the insect life is all too plentiful and sounds all too mechanical. Twice so far I have turned off the fan or the air conditioner, convinced that something was wrong by the repetitive ratcheting noise, only to open the door and hear that sound reverberating from the forest.