Sunday, March 24, 2013

Leaving Savannah.......

After 12 days in Savannah....and we loved every single day we spent here....it was time to roll the Newell wheels once again.  We have been making a gallant effort to slow our northward progress due to seriously cold weather to the north of us, but it still looks like another week of winter storms coming through not only the areas north of us, but even through Savannah.  

Since we had stowed the car in the trailer Friday night, there was not much to do Saturday to ready ourselves for departure.  We got to say goodbye to Krash and Karen one more time.....J.D., the owner of Red Gate, had allowed them to drop their Boston Whaler on his property free  of charge for the two days they were in Savannah as a favor to us.  They came just before 10 am to pick up their trailer and we exchanged "until next time" hugs one more time.  We are hoping to see them as we move over to Indianapolis for the Indy 500.

We only had 114 miles to cover Saturday, but we wanted to get an early start to do as much driving before the rains came.  Our exit from Red Gate was just before 10 am.....within a few minutes we were merging on to I-16 west bound.....we have not traveled in a westerly direction for a long, long time!  Around the 33 mile mark we left I-16 for SR 67 northbound toward Augusta, GA.  We have been members of Harvest Hosts for a few years now, but have never taken advantage of their services until Saturday.  Harvest Hosts signs up vineyards, farms, ranches, orchards, etc. who will offer their property for short term parking of RV's.  We found Graystone Ranch Wildlife Education Center in the Harvest Hosts directory, which is  just south of Augusta about 20 mile in a little town called Hephzibah, GA.  We called ahead before we left Savannah, as instructed on the Harvest Hosts website, and advised them we were coming in for a couple of days.  They said "no problem".  

About 70 miles into our drive the rain came.....it came hard!  Lightning, thunder and, at times, torrential rain, nevertheless, our windshield wipers were up to the job.  As we turned right on to McManus Road I began to get concerned about our destination.....McManus is a very narrow road, and it was obvious there would be no where to turn around for miles if we had a need.  The entrance to Graystone was about 3 miles down this narrow road, and then as we turned left into the ranch property we were now on a dirt/gravel road, which eventually turned to dirt/mud.  The rain is still coming down quite hard at this point.  As we eased slowly into property I began to get concerned about what we were getting into.....we approached a clearing with a few scattered, seemingly unoccupied buildings....I stopped.......I wasn't moving one more foot until I talked with someone in the office.  Fortunately a nice young lady answered, and said she had seen us enter the property, and that Russ was waiting for us a few hundred yards further at the ranch office to lead us to our parking spot.  She says ".....don't worry semi tractor trailer trucks come in here all the time....".....of course I'm thinking "....sure, but do they every leave?" I'm getting this "Hotel California" feeling....you know....."....you can check in any time you want, but you can never leave....".  The whole time I'm thinking I'm just going to sink into the mud, and we'll never be seen again. 




Well, we round the bend in the road and see the ranch office, finally, and there is Russ in his 4 X 4 waiving us on......I'm sure I could almost hear the strains of "Dueling Banjos" in the background....we are at this point about 1 mile off the pavement on a narrow muddy road.....I look out the window down at the front tires to see how far into the mud we are, and am pleasantly surprised to see we are not sinking into the mud at all, so I proceed to follow Russ in his 4 X 4.  I can now see other RV's parked down near the lake.....did I mention there is a lake.  He walks up to my window and asks if we want to have a view of the lake....at the same time I'm looking forward at the narrow muddy track that leads DOWN to the lake with a sharp left turn.  I ask  "....is there a big enough level spot for me to park DOWN THERE?".....Russ answers....."sure.....we'll get you in there, and then worry about backing you out on Monday".....wait, what....there will be backing?  He seemed so confident, and I could see other rigs down there that appeared to be level, so I began moving slowly following him down the hill to our spot.....I can see there is a level spot down there, so I keep moving until Russ raises his hand, and gives me the stop signal.  I had to lower the driver's side down almost six inches, but, indeed, we ended up being level side to side, and front to back....I still can't believe it.

Within a few minutes the rain stopped, and the sun came out.  On top of the beautiful view  of the lake we have, Russ also has allowed us to plug into a nearby 30 amp RV outlet, so we won't have to run our generator.....remember, we are parking here for FREE.   Since we are going to be here 2 days riding out the weather fronts coming through I wanted to be sure I could watch March Madness, and what do you know.....our view of the southern sky is the only unobstructed by trees view of the sky we have, and I was able to dial in DirecTV within just a few minutes....okay, we are set for a couple of days....I'll worry about how we're getting out of this site on Monday....we've got 30 amps, TV and electric heaters warding off the cold, damp air.....life is good!

Once we got settled in I settled in to watch non-stop NCAA basketball....a lot of good games, and a number of surprising upsets.  We headed off to bed around midnight, just as the rain resumed.....and it rained continuously all night long.....sweet!  Now if that lake doesn't rise too much we're golden!




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