Sault Ste. Marie to Marathon

We spent a lot of time planning our trip to Sault Ste. Marie but we didn’t put much thought into going back. Our only hard date was August 6th, our annual family beach week in Ocean Isle Beach.  We couldn’t park the RV at the beach house, but we were thinking we might leave it in Shannon’s driveway in Wilmington, NC. As it turned out we left it at Fran’s brother’s place in Ernul, NC. Ernul is outside of New Bern.

We kept the RV in Ernul for a while. We stayed on it when we were there. Twice, we left it and went back to Marathon. While in Marathon, we booked 30 days in Myrtle Beach State Park starting December 5th. We also made plans to take the RV through the NC outer banks.

We also had five days booked in Bahia Honda State Park, in the FL Keys in January. It didn’t make sense to us to put the RV in storage for a couple of weeks between Myrtle Beach and Bahia Honda, so we made other plans.

Bay City, MI

We get up at 7;00 and say goodbye to Gary and Ellen. Then we drive to the dump station. We leave Soo Lock campground at 9:00.

We stop at Big Stone Bay Fishery in Mackinaw City.  We buy 2 lbs. of frozen Walleye,  1 lbs. of fresh trout and some smoked white fish dip. We take the scenic way to Bay City,  route 23 to route 13 along Lake Huron instead of the faster I-75. We get to the Bay City Recreation Area at 6:20.

This is a Michigan Department of Natural Resource park. We discover that in addition to the $23 campground fee we need to buy a non-resident DNR recreation passport for $9 a night. It’s more expensive than we thought.

Fresh Trout on a Cedar Plank
Fresh Trout on a Cedar Plank

For dinner we cook trout on a cedar plank.

Saginaw Bay Beach
Saginaw Bay Beach

This is a nice campground on Saginaw Bay of Lake Huron. We stay here two nights. There are bike trails and a nice beach. Our friend Dick stops by to visit.

Port Clinton, OH

We go to the dump station at 9:30 and we are underway before 10:00. We stop to get gas and eat lunch at 12:05 and get to East Harbor State Park at 2:00.

Beach on Lake Erie
Beach on Lake Erie

This is another beautiful campground. It is on Lake Erie and has many trails. We our ride bicycles over seven miles. After that we get ice cream cones at the camp store.

Bike Trail
Bike Trail

We have had problems with our chassis battery for while. This morning was not the first time we had to boost our chassis battery with our house battery to start the engine. We leave the campground without definite plans for the night.

We stop at Walmart to buy groceries and see if we might be able to buy a new chassis battery. The Walmart automotive department does not have listings for Winnebago. I write down the specs for the existing battery and we find a suitable replacement. They ask if I would like them to install it. I say yes.

We shop for our provisions and I get paged by the automotive department. The technician has never worked on an RV and I have to show him where the battery is. I show him and go back to shopping. We checkout and he is still working on the battery. We put our groceries away and wait or him to finish.

We leave with a new battery. The technician is excited to have worked on an RV.

Beckley, WV

We look for a place to stop and find Tamarack. It is like a visitors center to West Virginia, but much more. It is a showcase for WV artisans. There are many items for sale featuring products and food from WV. There is also a food court. Best of all they allow campers to park there overnight.

We park the RV and go inside. We are too late to watch artisans at work, but we buy honey, a cutting board, molasses and wine. Then we buy dinner. Fran has pan-fried trout and I have a fried green tomato, bacon and swiss sandwich. Both are delicious.

Dinner at Tamarack
Dinner at Tamarack

We go back to the RV and have a very peaceful night.

Roaring Gap, NC

We drive to Stone Mountain campground in Roaring Gap, NC. This is a state park and we get a senior discount.

We have traveled between the FL Keys and NC many times. We have traveled by road, air and sea, but this is the first time it has taken 3,300 miles and 39 days.

Stone Mountain Falls
Stone Mountain Falls

We ride our bikes to the upper parking lot and hike to Stone Mountain Falls. The next day we go on a longer hike.

Stone Mountain Middle Falls
Stone Mountain Middle Falls

Apex, NC

After two days in Roaring Gap we drive to Jordan Lake Crosswinds campground in Apex, NC. It’s a nice campground, but it rains so we stay only one night. We do get to visit with our friend Susan, who lives in the area.

Ernul, NC

We drive to Fran’s brother, James house. He just put in a 30 amp RV outlet, so we can plug-in. Our plan is to keep it here while we do our annual family beach week in Ocean Isle, NC.

After our beach week we come back to Ernul for a while and visit with James for a couple of weeks. His son and family are planning to come in from Germany in October, so we decide to leave the RV there and drive his Mustang back to Marathon for a while.

Patrick’s trip gets put off until mid-November. But hurricane Matthew is headed to the east coast. We secure the boat in Marathon, but it looks like eastern North Carolina is going to get hit by this storm.

On October 5, 2016 we drive James’s Mustang and our van back to Ernul. People are already evacuating and traffic is really bad. We only stop four times for fuel and bathroom breaks and it takes us 15 1/2 hours.

On October 8 Matthew has come up the FL, GA and SC coast.  We are getting lots of rain and flash flood warnings. We lose power at 6:20 PM. At least we are in a self-contained RV.

Ocracoke, NC

We decide to take a trip to the outer banks. We take the Cedar Island Ferry to Ocracoke and stay at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore campground in Ocracoke. All of the National Seashore campgrounds are dry camping, but the weather this time of year is cool enough that we don’t need air-conditioning most of the time.

We meet up with some friends, most of whom are on boats. The campground is a good distance from the marinas on bikes so we don’t get to spend as much time with them as we would like.

Sunrise on Ocrakoke
Sunrise on Ocracoke

Ocracoke is one of our favorite places. We like the restaurants and the beach. On Sunday morning we get up, take a short walk to the beach and watch the sunrise. Later we ride our bikes into town and eat some shrimp, oysters and wings and watch some football.

Cape Hatteras, NC

On Monday we get up, dump our black and gray water and head for the Cape Hatteras Ferry. We get on the 10:30 ferry to Cape Hatteras. We drive to the Cape Point campground and pick a site. It is self-serve, so we pick a site and put $10 (because we have a senior pass) in an envelope.

Cape Hatteras Beach
Cape Hatteras Beach

After lunch we bike/walk to the beach, then we walk on Buxton Woods Trail. The trail is nice but it is full of mosquitoes and snakes.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Next we go the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. The Lighthouse is closed, but the visitor center is open.

Manteo, NC

We spend two nights at Cape Point and then head to Oregon Inlet campground. We like this campground because it is right on the beach.

We ride our bikes across the street and go to the marina store, We buy some staples – bug spray and potato chips.

Bodie Island Lighthouse
Bodie Island Lighthouse

We ride our bikes to the Bodie Island Lighthouse. Again, the lighthouse is closed, but the visitor center is open. (All the lighthouses in outer banks close after Columbus Day.)

Sunrise at Oregon Inlet
Sunrise at Oregon Inlet

The next day we get up and watch the sunrise. The we drive across the street to dump our black and gray water tanks.

Creswell, NC

We leave the outer banks and head towards Petigrew State Park. On the way we stop at a Food Lion to buy groceries. It is a Sunday before noon in NC so we have to wait to buy some beer. While waiting we smell fried chicken, so we buy some of that too.

We get to Petigrew State Park campground. We ride our bike around. We see Lake Phelps and Somerset Place. It is Sunday and Somerset Place is closed, but we enjoy walking around the grounds and looking in windows.

Campfire in Petigrew State Park
Campfire in Petigrew State Park

Petigrew SP campground is like the outer banks campground because its dry camping. But unlike the outer banks campgrounds, they allow wood fires, so we enjoy a nice campfire.

Ernul, NC

We drive back to James’s house and park the RV.

Outer Banks Route
Outer Banks Route

We leave the RV in NC for a while and drive back to Marathon to check on the boat. We come back to the RV to see Patrick and family.  They leave right before Thanksgiving, but we stay until December 5.

Myrtle Beach, SC

We have a site in Myrtle Beach State Park for 30 days. This is a half-price snow bird special.

Moon Rise in Myrtle Beach
Moon Rise in Myrtle Beach

This is a really nice campground. The best part is that we are close to most of our kids and grand kids so we get to spend time with them.

Night of a 1,000 Lights
Night of a 1,000 Lights

One night we go to Night of a 1,000 Lights at Brookgreen Gardens State Park with Ryan and Audrey.

Lawton, Fran and Gracie
Lawton, Fran and Gracie

Gracie and Lawton stayed with us for a couple of days before Christmas.

Ron, Gracie, Oliver, Johnny and Fran
Ron, Gracie, Oliver, Johnny and Fran

Alicia and the boys came down for a few days after Christmas. Shannon, Erika, their kids and Ryan and Audrey come too.

Jackson, Oliver and Alicia
Jackson, Oliver and Alicia

Richman Hill, GA

We leave Myrtle Beach on January 3. This is a day early but we have a homeowners meeting on January 6. We stop at Fort McAllister State Park.

We get there early enough that we check-in and walk on some of the trails.

Titusville, FL

The next day we drive to Manatee Hammock campground in Titusville, FL. This is a nice county park on the Indian River

We get in our site and walk around the campground. We see the NASA Causeway bridge from the campground.

Homestead, FL

The next morning we drive to Flamingo campground in Florida Everglades National Park. The plan is to drive back to Marathon in the van and leave the RV here on Friday, go to the homeowners meeting on Saturday and then come back here for  few days.

Flamingo Campground
Flamingo Campground

This is a big campground. It is far from everything and our Verizon phones don’t work. We can go to the visitor center and use their free WiFi.

Back Country Boat Tour
Back Country Boat Tour

We are paid-up at Flamingo campground until Wednesday. On Wednesday we drive the RV and van to the visitor center and take the back country boat tour. This is well worth it! We see some crocodiles.

Long Pine Key Campground
Long Pine Key Campground

After that we drive to the Long Pine Key campground,  which is also in the Everglades National Park. This campground is dry camping only. It some great bike trails

Tavernier, FL

The next day we drive to the Elks Lodge in Tavernier. We lucked out finding a spot in this very popular place. It is a beautiful place on the Florida Bay – a great place to watch sunsets.

Bahia Honda, FL

We had reserved a campsite at Bahia Honda State Park eleven months earlier. This was not an easy accomplishment. For two weeks we got up, logged on to reserveamerica.com, and clicked on “reserve” at exactly 8:00 AM. We had to beat out many other RVers, most of whom were trying to book the entire winter months hopping between state parks in the Florida Keys.

Bahia Honda Sunset
Bahia Honda Sunset

We have a great time here. We ride our bikes around, walk on trails and watch some great sunsets.

This is the end of our seven month RV adventure. We put the RV back in storage and go back to our boat in Marathon.