Friday, April 13, 2012

Georgia on my mind.....

Beautiful Savannah streets

Our night behind the Cracker Barrel Restaurant in Kingsland, GA was uneventful, which is what we strive for daily. No one wants to get a knock on the door at 2am from a security guard, or police saying you have to move on. We don't always succeed, but we are generally successful in our efforts. We have only been approached once by a private security fellow at the Walmart in Jacksonville. I hadn't even turned off the DD when a security guard was talking to Elaine through her window advising we could only park there for 2 hours....otherwise our stays at Walmart Supercenters have been totally uneventful. Finding a free overnight spot takes some advance research. As our journey has evolved Elaine has taken on this responsibility, and, frankly, has gotten quite good at it. When we decide we want to dry camp Elaine will check local Walmart Supercenters in the area we have chosen to spend the night. She will pull up an overview of the parking lot and street approaches on Google Maps. We need to know if we can maneuver in the lot, and if we can get into it easily from the local streets. If you have been following our blog you know that we have spent a lot of time overnighting in Walmarts since we crossed the Mississippi. Walmart Supercenters are generally open 24/7, have good lighting, and usually some security at night. Most Walmarts allow overnight RV parking, but it never hurts to go inside and ask the store manager's permission. We usually shop before approaching the store manager, so when we talk to him/her they can see we have spent money in their store. No one has refused us until the Jacksonville Walmart. Our second favorite dry camp spot is behind Cracker Barrel Restaurants, and we have done this frequently, too, starting in Midland, TX. They are always located in nice neighborhoods, and not that far off the Interstate. We have never been refused at any Cracker Barrel, and we usually get breakfast in the morning before we depart. Third on our list are Home Depots, but so far we haven't had to take the third option. 

A fourth option is to dry camp at RV Parks....normally a site with full hookups will cost anywhere from $15-$45, but if you ask for a dry camping spot, the price goes down to $5-$25, and you still have access to the dump station, club house, showers, workout rooms, etc. We investigated several Walmart, Cracker Barrel, Home Depot options for Savannah, but they were either too far from downtown, or the parking lots were too small, or we didn't like the "vibe" of the parking lot when we got there. The "vibe" thing came into play yesterday at the Home Depot, which was not far from downtown, but we just didn't comfortable with the parking lot "vibe". In addition, we are staying here 3 days, and since we don't stay in one dry camp spot for more than one night we would have to keep moving every day, so we chose the 4th option, and are staying at Red Gate RV Park in their dry camp spots for $25 per night. As you can see from the picture below, this is a nice spot for $25 per night.

Now back to the "uneventful" thing we strive for daily.....Elaine had chosen the parking lot at the Visitors Center in Savannah for us to park during the day yesterday, before moving on to the Home Depot (which we later rejected). I exited I-16 at Montgomery (essentially the eastern terminus of this Interstate), and then turned left on to MLK Blvd. As I approached the entrance to the lot I said outloud "Elaine, what have you gotten us into? I don't know if I can make the left turn into this lot!" It appeared from the street to be VERY full, and difficult to maneuver in, but, and this is the key point....I ignored that inner voice, and turned into the trailer cleared the center divider curb by 1 I drove into the lot I began to realize there was no way I could make the left turn into the RV section of the lot......trees hanging over the entrance, and a narrow entrance made it impossible. I saw a section of regular parking spots with about 9 spaces in a row empty, so I pulled my 62' into that spot to get out of the way of tour buses, and cars that were backing up rapidly behind me. I thought, "as long as no pulls in the spot directly behind the trailer I can get out again". Elaine walked over the parking kiosk and asked if there was anywhere else in their lot we could fit, and she said "NO", because this was a busy day with lots of school buses coming to the nearby museum. She said we could stay in the hastily chosen spot for 30 minutes while we figured out where we would go next. While we were doing that, some knucklhead pulled into the spot directly behind the trailer. By the time I realized it, the knucklhead was gone. Thank God we have walkie talkies, because I don't know how we would have gotten out otherwise. It took me about 10 minutes of maneuvering our behemoth back and forth almost hitting the knucklehead's car several times, as well as a tree, and a sign, but SOMEHOW, by the grace of God we finally exited the temporary spot to the applause of passing tour bus! THAT is what we try to avoid, but sometimes, in spite of our best combined efforts we have an EVENT.

It probably took me about an hour to get rid of the jitters after that claustrophobic experience.....we drove over to the local Home Depot lot, and sat there for about an hour.....we didn't like the "vibe" of the area, or lot, so, using we found Red Gate RV Park, and snagged a dry camp site for 3 days.

After dumping our gray and black tanks we got set up in our spot, deployed the awnings, awning mat, and recliners and spent the afternoon reading, and listening to music. Around 6:30pm I got out the BBQ and we grilled some filets, cracked open a bottle of old vine Zin, and watched the sun set.....what a great end to a somewhat eventful day!

Thanks for stopping by!

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