Early Monday morning we packed up and started the long trip back home. With the tank already filled and the car loaded, we started off just before the rain started which I was thankful for. Our goal was to reach the southern border of WV at a travel plaza in Beckley.
Most of the trip that day was uneventful, but our night in Beckley sure wasn’t. Being the educated people we were, we thought we would save a little money by staying at the travel plaza in Beckley. We have seen many RV’ers stay the night at rest stops and thinking that since the Beckley travel plaza was much larger than a rest stop and had fuel and food on the premises, it would be a good idea to spend the night there.
We got in about 7 pm that evening and fueled up first off. Afterwards, I drove RV-103 to the back area of the parking lot and parked two slots over from another RV. The place was huge with room for hundreds of semi-trucks and at first there weren’t too many of them there. We assumed that many truckers were not out driving due to the holiday later that week, but we were wrong. Within the next 2-3 hours, nearly every parking slot was filled by semis with airbrakes hissing and engines idling. RV-103 got flanked by two semis on each side parked so close that we could reach out the window and touch them. Other trucks kept circling the parking lot looking for an open slot until the wee hours of the morning.
We didn’t feel like cooking so I went inside the plaza to get some food and coffee. The food was terrible and even the coffee was weak (Starbucks, go figure!), but the worst part was the price. The prices were at least 20% more than other places and the Burger King didn’t even have a dollar menu. I bought our meager meal and headed back to the RV where Gypsy and Commander Merlin were waiting for me.
As I got to the door, a “lady of the evening” approached me looking for “work.” She seemed quite upset when I refused her and even commented to her partner who was somewhere out of sight behind the RV. After I was sure she and her friend had left, I knocked my secret knock and Gypsy let me in.
We ate and then tried to settle in for the night. It was hard to sleep due to all the semis making their unique noises, but eventually we drifted off for an uneasy night’s sleep. About 3 am I heard cows, lots of cows, and boy they were not happy. A semi hauling a couple dozen cows had parked right across from us and we spent the rest of the night hearing the moos ( Small Herd Cattle-SoundBible.com-101186334 ) and kicking against the cages like they were ready to avenge their brothers and sisters whom I grilled not long ago. Commander Merlin spent the night on our bed with her ears laid back and tail swishing.
I woke up about 7 am to the sound of the cows being even more upset and decided it wasn’t worth trying to go back to sleep. I got some coffee and Gypsy and I got RV-103 back on the road. It was now two days before Thanksgiving and the roads so far were pretty clear which surprised us. We made good time until we got to Columbia SC and then the holiday traffic started to appear slowing us all down. I swear that for some people, Thanksgiving is the only time of the year that they drive and it shows. Some just putter along at 40 mph in the passing lane while others are living out their dreams of being a NASCAR driver. And stuck in the middle is our 37 foot RV towing the car.
We knew we wouldn’t make it out of SC before the end of the day, so we started looking for a campsite (no more travel plazas or cows for us!). I decided to trade in some of my gazillion KOA points and we stopped in a little town called Yemassee SC at the Point South KOA. Our cost for the night’s stay was less than $20 and was well worth it.
The Point South KOA is right off I-95 and in a wooded area. The staff is very friendly, and I actually had a bit of difficulty getting the RV set up before darkness due to their willingness to stop by and chat. They have the only pizzeria in town so that makes them the best and worst pizza around. Actually the pizza was good and you could get a large pizza with everything on it hand delivered to your RV for only $14. They also had a wine bar, but we had enough of our own wine to drink with our pizza and wings.
As I mentioned, Point South KOA is in a wooded area. A much wooded area and it was tight getting the RV out of the campsite and back on the road. I walked the route beforehand noting where the trees were and how much space I had. We got out without incident and headed south.
Traffic was heavy, but manageable until we got onto I-75 on the west side of Florida. Then it was bumper to bumper, stop and go, and slow going all around. We were traveling about 2 miles an hour overall. We learned on the CB radio that there was a fender-bender about 30 miles south of us causing the slowdown. So, instead of sitting in the traffic, we pulled off into a rest area to wait it out.
The nice thing about traveling in a RV is you travel in comfort. We cooked a nice meal on the stove, fired up the generator, and watched a nice movie on our HD TV. Later on, I stepped outside to have a cigar and saw that several RV’s were lined up beside us doing exactly the same thing, the TV’s flickering through their windows and blinds.
After the movie was over (we watched Disney’s Scrooge starring Jim Carey), we checked the traffic and saw that it had thinned out some. We fired up our RV and pulled back onto the road. We got home about 10 pm that night and Commander Merlin meowed out “Wheels Stop” and Mission #3 The Empire (State) Strikes Back had finally ended.
We had a good time on this mission and enjoyed welcoming our new grandson into the world. Now it is time to settle down, get some maintenance done on RV-103, and prepare for our next mission and misadventures.