Welcome to our Travel Blog!

Hi, and welcome to our RV Travel Blog! We hope you enjoy our writings. If you are a camper, I hope you find them helpful. The posts are list in order from recent back to earliest.... so if you want to read in order that they were written, scroll down or click the "Previous Posts" on the right. Also look at the "Archive" links on the right. Our trip and family photos are in the Dotphoto.com site in the links section on the left.
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Monday, June 09, 2008

These guys are Good!

OK, I know this is not specifically about taveling - unless you want to call traveling 20 miles from home to the Lancaster Motor Speedway traveling - but I wanted to share these bits of video our son shot when we visited the speedway this past Saturday night. The speedway hosted the Carolina Clash, a regional Late Model Dirt touring series.

My brother in law, Tim, his son Tanner aged 13 (and one of the most avid dirt track fans you'll find anywhere,) my son Tristan, and I spent Saturday evening at the track - watching the people, watching the cars, eating french fries, and drinking Gatorade. It's a really nice way to spend a summer evening.

The Clash drivers spend their spring and summer traveling to various dirt tracks across the Carolinas, Virginia, and Georgia putting on a real show. They race weekly, sometimes two races per week. They may race a double header at one track or they may race Friday night at one track, and another for the Saturday night show. Either way, this has to be a tough schedule for these drivers and their crews

At Lancaster Speedway, a 1/2 mile dirt track, they take just a little over 19 seconds to get around the track. That translates to averaging about 95 miles per hour around this tight circuit, with the actual speed much faster than that on the straights. The first video below is of the 1st turn at Lancaster during 2 of the drivers 2 lap qualifying runs. As you can see, they blast down the front straightaway, then throw the cars into the turn in a controlled slide. As they go through the turn they feather the throttle to keep the car in a controlled slide, gunning it as they are pointed down the back stretch.

(If you let the video play to the end, you can select from 5 or 6 more videos from Lancaster.)

If you think the single car qualifying for the race is exciting, wait until you see all 20 of them on the short track at the same time.

This past Saturday, Randall Chupp won a very hotly contested battle with Clash series leader Dennis "Rambo" Franklin. The 40 lap event saw Chupp jump to a lead with Rambo doing everything he could to get around him. What a show these two put on.

Other than the Clash touring series, Lancaster hosted it's normal weekly card, with several classes ranging from the "Young Guns" (young drivers working to gain some experience), to Late Model Crate (higher powered cars with experienced drivers) and several other classes in between.

If you get a chance to see these drivers at a dirt track near you, by all means go. It is an opportunity to see an exciting event the way racing USED to be, and still is at these local weekend dirt tracks.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Dear Kelli with the new 5th Wheel...

I just recently saw your comment regarding Bluewater Key. I wanted to respond to you directly but you left no email address. Please let us know how you enjoyed your trip to Bluewater Key and the lower Keys. As you see in the posts below, we were back there a couple of weeks after you were. Feel free to send an email to us at Chuck @ Lomaxonline,com

We are also active on RV.NET with the nickname NCBOUNDER.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Huntington Beach State Park, South Carolina

This weekend we were able to find a site at Huntington Beach State Park near Pawleys Island South Carolina. We had been there several times before, but this was the first time since 2006 (I think.)

Huntington Beach SP is just south of Murrells Inlet SC, which is just south of Myrtle Beach SC. It is situated on the beach near Litchfield Beach and Pawleys Island. The campground is only a small part of this large state park. It is on an old estate that included the state park land and Brookgreen Gardens just across Hwy 17 from the State Park.

On entry to the park you pass the guard gate and cross a causeway that separates a fresh water lagoon from a salt marsh. The freshwater lagoon is home to several alligators that can easily be seen from the road and from a gazebo that is built on stilts in the edge of the lagoon.

Don't worry too much about getting eaten by an alligator... there is rip-rap all along the roadside about 8 - 10 feet down to the water. It would be extremely difficult for one of them to get to the top of the rocks before you could get away.

The beach at HBSP is as beautiful as ever. There are 2 access paths from the campground to the beach. Each one is approximately 300 yards or so from the campground to the beach, so be prepared for a little hike each time. When we were there it was very pleasant temperature wise; mid 80s, with a nice breeze blowing most of the time. Bugs were not bad at all either.

We left home Friday morning and arrived at the park at about 12:30 PM. After setting up the RV on our site (#19), we hauled the chairs and umbrella to the beach to spend the rest of the day.

There is a paved road in the park that goes to another beach access about a mile north of the campground. At it's end is a parking area for day use or for campers that want to drive of bike up there. From there, it is about another mile north to the Merrells Inlet jetty. We didn't go up there this trip.

The park has a nice store with the basic supplies and the usual Tee Shirts and other souvenirs. It also has a very nice and rather large day use area with a big parking area and very nice bath house and dressing area.

Another attraction is the Atalaya "Castle". The Castle as it is called, is a very large spanish style courtyard house built in the early 1930's by the Huntington Family. (See Atalaya link on the Friends of Huntington Beach web site.) You can tour the house, but it closes at about 5:00 PM.

Also check out the official Huntington Beach State Park web site.

Here are a few more pictures of the weekend. The full set of our weekend pictures is on our Huntington Beach 05-2008 album on Dotphoto.com

By the way, I have received comments from some of the readers of this blog with questions regarding the campgrounds we have visited...but with no email address. If you want further info regarding any of the places we have visited, PLEASE leave your email address, or you may email me directly at the email address shown on my blog profile. I will be more than happy to respond.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Back to the Island

It has seemed like a long winter. It was not a particularly cold one, just long, and dry. The Piedmont area of the Carolinas and Georgia, and some other areas of the Southeast have been under extreme drought conditions for nearly a year, maybe longer. So I cannot and will not complain about the chilly, wet spring we have had. But it did seem to make Winter seem longer.

But as Jimmy Buffett sang in the Leon Russell song:

I hope you understand,
I just had to get back to the island.
And watch the sun go down,
Hear the sea roll in.....
Hear the night bird cry,
Watch the sunset down,
I just hope you understand,
I just had to go back to the island.

And get back to the island we did!

Key West and Blue Water Key Redux.

Last year we went to Bluewater Key RV Resort just outside of Key West at MM 14 on US1. We were so taken by the place that we decided then that we would return. Now this may sound strange, but we went back, stayed in exactly the same site (#74), and did almost nothing for the entire week. Yep, nothing. There are not many places that I would want to return and stay again, but Bluewater Key and the Lower Keys are one of those rare places. We could have stayed, and stayed, and stayed...

Why would you want to leave this?

Sunset from our dock at Bluewater Key

We were so lazy, we didn't even make any more pictures this year. There are several reasons for this:
We even stayed at the same campground at Flagler Beach (Gamble Rogers Recreation Area) on the way back. There is where the story really gets off of last years trip... last year we were on site #14 at Gamble Rogers, this year we were on #12.

We did do a couple of things different this year. First, we drove down to KW in 1 1/2 days. We left home at about 1:00 PM on Friday, and drove all the way to Palm Coast FL, arriving there at about midnight Friday night/Saturday morning. That is where it got a little interesting.

A few days proir to leaving, I phoned the Wal-Mart in Palm Coast and spoke with a member of management. I ask if if was OK to spend the night in their parking lot in our RV. I was told that it would be fine as long as we were out of the way by first thing in the morning. To me first thing is anytime before 7:00 AM, so this was no problem. So as the hours rolled by along with I-95, that Wal-Mart parking lot was looking pretty good.

We got there a few minutes before midnight, and as always, I went in to ask the managers permission. I was then told that there was a city ordinance against any overnight parking. She said that I could do it "at my own risk", but may get a knock on the door by PC's finest in the early morning hours and would have to move. We chatted a few more minutes about it and I decided that the risk of that actually happening may not be that great. Besides, where else were we going to go at 1:00 AM... back on I-95? Thats where we were eventually headed anyway; either with or without sleep! So we decided to try it.

We pulled over near the back of the parking lot, as far away from the street as we could get, and still out of the way of any other store traffic. I didn't feel too guilty because there was one 18 wheeler parked there too. By 12:45 we were asleep, and didn't wake up until about 6:30 when the sun was comming up, and the delivery trucks were moving in. After a quick cup of coffee, we were back on the road.

Now for an editorial comment: One of the quickest ways to get an argument started on some of the RV related Internet forums is to mention parking overnight in a Wal-Mart parking lot. For some reason it just seems to rub some people the wrong way. I see absolutely nothing wrong with parking in a lot like that for a few hours sleep. Not "CAMPING" mind you, but getting some rest while on route to your destination. If campgrounds and RV parks want to take advantage of these in transit overnight stops, they should provide a place where RVers can get in and out easily, no hookup's required, and stay open all night. I don't think there are many campgrounds that would have welcomed us at that hour, for a few hours, for a few bucks.

From I-95 near Jupiter Beach we took the Floridas Turnpike. I think it was a total of about $18 bucks by the time we hit US1 south of Homestead/Florida City, but well worth dodging all that traffic between West Palm Beach and Miami, and the hassel of that 30 miles or so of US1 between the end of I-95 and Florida City.

Since we were doing so good with our time, I decided to take the Card Sound Road through Largo, going past Alabama Jacks and crossing the swinging toll bridge. With the bridge construction on US1, this seemed like a more scenic route. Just after turning left onto Card Sound Road, we came up behind the first of about 1000 bicycles on that route. There was a charity bike-a-thon fundraiser going on. Just our luck, but I do hope they raised a lot of money. It then took us over an hour to make it down that 20 mile stretch back to US1.

Our Week in Paradise!

Finally at about 5:00 PM we were in our "One Particular Harbor"; our site in Bluewater Key RV resort. We had most of our meals during the week there, usually after a swim in the clear, warm water. We did venture into Key West a couple of times for dinner and to check out the action on Duval Street. Here's a picture from the Sloppy Joe's Duval Street web cam:

That day we had dinner at El Siboney, a great family run Cuban resturant. The next time we went to Key West a few days later, we walked around, bought the kids souvineirs, and had dinner at Pepe's. Pepe's has been in the waterfront area for 50 years or so and still serves up great seafood.

One day we did venture up to Big Pine Key, and over to No Name Key to see the Key Deer. There is actually a Key Deer preserve on Big Pine, but we saw none there. But there were several subdivisions we rode through where the tiny Key Deer had come into the area to eat the grass. We saw numerous Key Deer there.

No Name is also deserving of it's name. There is nothing there to be named! It is quite isolated, with only a few houses. Several construction sites appeared abandoned.

On the way back we stopped at the Sugarloaf Lodge. Their restaurant was open, so we ordered a couple of fresh grouper sandwiches to go. Those we enjoyed from our Tiki Hut next to the water back at Bluewater Key.

Most late afternoons found us on our bicycles riding around the RV resort, the neighborhood next door, and the larger island just north of us about a mile up US1 in the Saddlebunch Keys. We always managed to stop someplace and watch the sun go down...that seems to be a required activity in the Conch Republic. Not a bad way to end your day...