Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Hail, Columbia

We are at a Wal-Mart in Columbia, South Carolina (map).

Yesterday we pulled up stakes at Cheraw State Park just about noon -- a bit sooner than we'd like, but we needed to be back in good cell coverage in time for Louise's call. I had hoped to make it all the way to the Flying-J, but we fell short, stopping instead at the parking lot of a Home Depot at the edge of town. That gave me a chance to shop for stair nosing that I need (they did not have the right brand, though) and put some coolant in while she was on the phone.

The call ran less than two hours, despite having been scheduled for four(!), and we arrived at the Flying-J with plenty of daylight left. So after fueling and dumping our tanks, we drove right through the center of town to get here, rather than going around on the freeway, giving us the chance to pass the State House and several other historic buildings.

Today some friends are driving up from Batesburg to meet us for lunch, after which we will head out of town to the south. I'd like to take US-321 all the way to where it meets I-95 in Hardeeville, but I couldn't find even a single place to spend the night along that route -- not even a Wal-Mart. Hard to believe one can even find a 130-mile stretch of highway with no Wal-Marts, but it's true, which has me contemplating taking US-21 instead, which will pass both a Wal-Mart and an Elks lodge in Orangeburg. The downside is that this route will put us back in the hustle and bustle of the I-95 corridor a full 35 miles sooner.

Speaking of which, I was reading a thread on one of the bus conversion boards this morning, about routes to get to Arcadia, Florida for a rally there at the end of the month. Many suggestions were proffered, and every single one of them involved some combination of Interstate highways. While we understand perfectly why truckers or busy traveling salesmen, for example, mostly stay on the Interstates, it always amazes us that most RVers do as well. It seems to us that the purpose of an RV is to get out and see the country, not whizz past it at 70mph. To each his own, I suppose.


  1. One of my favorite Google Map features is the "avoid highways" button. I sometimes plan dream travel routes late at night in the jail unit I supervise. The inmates are asleep, so supervision is just being there. Since I have access to Google, I sometimes plot courses late in the night.

    I prefer the slow travel concept, even in imagination.


  2. Hi Sean
    I plan on traveling the blue roads when my Cityliner is completed but I think a lot of people are still on a work schedule and are going to the event. Maximum time at the event minimum time on the road.


  3. It's true what you say about the RV'ers avoidance of the less travelled route. We're not full-time travellers but when we do camp, we choose major highways instead of side-roads quite often because the destination itself is the reason to drive.
    You, however, have a different scenario altogether as you don't have a specific destination in mind to go set up at for a week and then drive to a permanent home again. Your destination constantly changes and alters with whatever you want to do. You have that awesome freedom to see the little roads on the side that provide a much more scenic route.

    From an avid reader,

  4. Sean

    go on down 321 and then 301. great rout to florida.

    we some times stay at small country churches. also several restaurants that let truckers stay. That is the old woodpecker trail the truckers route south before interstates and a lot of truck use it now.

    uncle ned

    ps come on by arcadia while in flordia

  5. @leland, jody, and probably others: OK, I do acknowledge that many people have limited time, and therefore a speedier route yields more time at a chosen destination, and I certainly do not begrudge those folks their choice.

    I'm pretty sure, however, that many (most?) of the folks in the discussion to which I was referring are either retired, or working full-time from the road.

    @ned -- we are thinking about Arcadia, but not very seriously. We did that rally back in '05, when Odyssey was just completed -- in fact, Odyssey was a "featured coach." Today it would be a purely social stop, and, as of this moment, very few folks we know are even registered. Stay tuned, though -- we might yet cough up the registration fee and roll the extra miles if it meshes with the schedule and gets a good turnout. If we do go, I'll ask Jack if he'll let me present a seminar or two.

  6. Sean

    remember you are in the hospitable south when you get out of the big cities. you will be welcome just about anywhere.

  7. Sean,
    We travel the shortest distance between our particular point A and point B whether it is interstate or other. Since we only travel 150-200 miles each trip and then usually stay a week at point B we spend a big part of that week exploring a 100 mile radius on the back roads in our toad.
    These longer stays were our way of cutting fuel costs so we can stay on the road. Now, that the cost is coming down again, we could move faster but have decided we really like the slower pace.
    Safe travels,
    Joy and Phil

  8. Bob and Shirley LewisDec 9, 2008, 11:44:00 PM

    Sean and Louise
    We are in Mexico...living on the beach!!! Maybe you should try this instead of fighting your way to Florida!

    Bob and Shirley

    Ps Temp. is 80 degrees....sun everyday!!


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