Saturday, October 9, 2010

A three Wal-Mart day


We are at the Wal-Mart in New Bern, North Carolina (map). We started our day yesterday at the Wal-Mart in Williamston, NC (map), and in the middle of the day we had a rather frustrating stop at the Wal-Mart in Washington, NC, which was offering flu shots yesterday but really did not have enough parking for us to be comfortable there overnight.

We had stopped in Williamston for the night, even though Washington was only another half hour down the road, because I knew from the satellite photos that parking in Washington would be tight. Also, while our guide did not list this store as No Overnight Parking, we did not want to get there and find out otherwise. As it turns out, we're very glad to have made that choice.

That's because getting to the Wal-Mart in Washington involved a 40-minute, 15-mile detour. A new bypass around town has been opened on US-17 since our GPS database was updated, and by the time either we or the GPS had realized we were no longer heading towards town, we had no choice but to continue a full five miles before we could come back. We would have just kept going to New Bern at that point, except we'd then have to wait several more days to get our shots. After getting on the business route back north into town, the GPS again took us several miles in the wrong direction due to a geocoding error in both the POI and address for the Wal-Mart.

Once we were there, we were relieved to find no line for the shots, and were glad to have received them yesterday because we will be on an airplane in less than two weeks. Which brings me to my next subject, which is our plan for the near future.

When we arrived here in New Bern we decided to just spend our first night at the Wal-Mart, with a short walk to the very excellent Paula's Italian Restaurant and next door to Lowe's, where we had some shopping to do. But after I am done posting, we plan to head over to the Elks lodge here just a mile or so away. That's because blog reader Jay has invited us to watch his Gold Wing motorcycle drill team practice here on Sunday. Just as well to spend a quiet couple of days here, since I have some work to do on the roof as well as in the cockpit.

From here we will be heading slowly towards Tampa, Florida, where we have flights booked to San Francisco for our friends' wedding in Oakland on the 23rd. Tampa had the cheapest flights in the entire southeast, although ironically both sets of flights connect in Charlotte, where fares are quite a bit higher. We also have friends in Tampa who can host Odyssey while we are away. We are very glad to be able to get reasonable flights for this, and I had enough Hilton points to make the hotel stays nearly free, although it took me most of Thursday evening as well as the day yesterday to get all the reservations made.

We don't need to be in Tampa until the 19th, so we will continue our slow roll down the coast, landing in Charleston on Thursday for a nice dinner at the Harbour Club on Louise's birthday. I expect from there we will try to visit friends in Savannah before cutting back inland en route to Tampa. Will all our reservations in hand and Odyssey provided for, our only remaining issue will be to line up a kennel for the pets while we are away -- recommendations for kennels in the Tampa bay area welcome.

Flu shot photo by zingersb, used under a Creative Commons license.


  1. Charlotte's air fares as so skewed that someone I know who lives 20 minutes from Charlotte drove to RDU in Raleigh to catch a flight that goes through Charlotte because the fare from Raleigh was was so much cheaper. There is something sick and twisted about pricing for flights starting or terminating at hub airports.

  2. for cats, just north of tampa Gunn Hwy area
    ask for Cindy

  3. Sean,
    Just curious are you guys required to get a "motor coach" permit in Savannah same as we are, or are you exempt?
    As commercial motor coach operators we are required to get a permit every time we send a coach there!
    BTW mom & dad are @ the WW Williams in Savannah with the same bus I had in Arcardia. It developed a short in the injector harness and took out the ECM. Then a rookie technician just changed out the ECM without find/fixing the cause first and fried a brand new ECM!

  4. @Bryce,

    As a "motor home" or RV rather than a commercial "motor coach," we do not need a permit.

    That said, we've heard tell from other semi-commercial-appearing bus conversion owners who shall remain nameless that if you have the permit, you can get away with overnighting in one of the "unlimited" motor coach parking areas designated on the map.

    The permit is $10 a day, making a single overnight $20, so on this visit we took the free parking at Camping World out in Pooler instead and rode the scooters the 9.6 miles to downtown. If we had two or three days to spend, we might spring for the permit.


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