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Old 03-12-2009, 09:51 PM   #1
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First Long Trip

After a enjoying our AS for a couple of years on short trips, we decided to take a bigger trip. This time we are going to visit a favorite Florida campground we stayed at 15 years ago. Then we are going to take a "side trip" to Willamsburg VA before returning to Austin TX via Tennessee. We can stay at military campgrounds since I am a retiree. Those I am familiar with. I would schedule stays at state or national parks, but I find it hard to find reviews and/or pictures of camping spots along our route. Well...we are going anyway.

Day 1 Monday
Today's drive was easy. We took the short route to Houston where we could park at curb in front of our son's house. This gave us comfortable, familiar sleeping accommodations, without bothering him very much. We stopped at Camping World on I-10, but couldn't find anything that we really needed for the trip. The salesman there caught us as soon as we got inside to ask if our trailer was big enough. He said that they had just started to sell Airstreams 3 weeks ago. They sure wanted to sell me some other trailer, but with a little work I "shook" him off and went on our way. We arrived at Houston in the middle of rush hour on the 610 loop, but most folks were very cordial when I had to change lanes almost in a panic to avoid getting lost. Tuesday we left for Florida. More later.....
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Old 03-13-2009, 08:26 AM   #2
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Keep us informed...We all wish to be on the road alot longer, but sometimes work,family, $$$$, Gas keeps our trips shorter. Enjoy the leisure trip they are the best. 2 years ago we went to Florida for 7 weeks, wow we didn't want to come home!!! Then we went to Perry International for another 7 weeks and then we were hooked. But then came the high Diesel($4.75/gal)prices so then we slowed down to a tank per trip. But when you slow down it really was relaxing to take in the local sights for days at a time. Enjoy your trip and keep us posted...AirstreamHobo
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Old 03-13-2009, 10:57 AM   #3
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Day 2-Trip Continues

We started our trip from Houston at about 7AM. Morning rush hour traffic around the Houston wasn't too bad. Breakfast and coffee at McDonalds on the eastern side was our first stop. Later, we stopped at the Lousiana rest area. They gave us coffee and a map. I forgot to ask them about state and national park camping information for Louisiana. We have enjoyed the state park system in Texas and would like to try park camping in other states.

Some sections of the road (I10) in Lousiana caused us to start an almost severe bouncing oscillation between the truck and trailer. It was impossible to stop it by slowing down or speeding up. Just driving through it, gritting our teeth was the only way. We didn't notice other vehicles having trouble or slowing down, so it must be our geometry.

Our first destination was the Naval Construction Battalion (Seabees) installation in Gulfport MS. They have a new campgrouond with full hookups. Like many campgrounds in the South, it is generally full this time of the year with folks wintering there from the North. There are no reservations - first come first served. We called ahead and the very nice, accommodating manager said she had one spot that belonged to someone who was having their RV repaired, and she could let us have it for the one night ($20). We checked in at 5:30PM. We didn't' bother to unhook since we were going to leave the next morning, continuing east.

We didn't see many Airstreams on the road -- only 2 or 3. There was one newer Airstream at the Gulfport campground.
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Old 03-13-2009, 11:20 AM   #4
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Day 3-Into Florida

We left Gulfport, MS at at about 9:30 AM on our way to Florida. Our first rest stop was at the Alabama line where we got some pamphlets and map information for camping in Alabama state parks. We might need those in the future.

The Florida visitor center had orange juice and grapefruit juice to sample. We picked up map and state park information there. We left there at about 11AM headed toward Panama City. We decided to bypass the Pensacola campground and go straight through to Panama City. The route recommended by both Google maps and our Garmin took us off I-10 and along the gulf coast road. This might have been a mistake since we drove through several cities with several lights and rarely above 35 mph. Because of that we arrived almost 2 hours later than originally calculated, at about 4:30. The trip from Mississippi took 7 hours.

As expected, the campground was full with winter campers. Many have been here since October and will leave in the next couple of weeks, when the snow melts at home. We are camped in "overflow parking". Possibly we will move to one of the regular parking places in a couple of days. Those spots are nicely wooded and rustic. In the middle of the overflow area is a "gazebo" with fire place.. This is where mostly "old timer" men gather in the evening to tell stories, etc. There is a big recreation hall where the baths, showers and laundry are. In the rec hall we enjoyed wifi, coffee in the mornings.

The campground has about 100 spaces and up to 20 or so in the overflow area. We counted 3 Airstreams in this park. We will stay here a while before heading north to Virginia. Maybe leave Monday.
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Old 03-14-2009, 10:19 AM   #5
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Day 5 - Out of "overflow"

Friday we moved out of the overflow parking. We debated whether we would move if offered, since it could be much farther away from the facilities. Lucky for us, the new site was not too far away, but was nicely secluded and had a small view of the bay. We will stay there 3 nights before moving on. Saturday they cook breakfast in the rec room (pancakes, waffles or biscuits & gravy for $2) Then in the afternoon is the St Patrick's day party. They will serve corned beef, and campers are encouraged to contribute salad or desert. Looking to be good food.
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Old 03-14-2009, 12:46 PM   #6
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We have traveled extensively on long trips in our 28 Excellas and now our 25 Excella. Our experience has been to stay in state parks, National parks and forest as well as BLM lands when available as you have greater separation between neighbors(usually) and the prices are hard to beat. This doesn't suit everyone but it works for us. Enjoy yourselves and have a ball. From one IP to another.

DJ
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Old 03-18-2009, 04:31 PM   #7
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Day 9 and 10 - Into Georgia

Day 9 Into Georgia. We left Panama City this morning at about 8 AM. Our destination was the campground at Kings Bay Submarine Base just over the state line in Georgia off I-95. We had a wonderful scenic drive through the Florida countryside from Panama city before getting on I-10. We arrived at the campground about 4:30. We were able to get a spot for two days. This is a nice surprise, since the campground is still mostly full with wintering residents. It is very clean and modern. One of the nicest we have visited--it seems relatively new. Full hookups, cable, wifi, and very clean community facilities.


Day 10. We took a long walk this morning. There is a walking trail leading from the campground around part of the adjoining lake. It makes a for a very good walk through the woods. Not too far away is the town of St Mary, Georgia. A quaint little waterside town with marina, fishing, shops and antiques. It is a good place to visit and spend a couple of hours away from traveling on the road. Diesel here was $1.95/gallon, one of the lowest prices we've had on the trip. Tomorrow we leave to continue up I-95 to Williamsburg, Virginia where we have reservations for Friday night. We are thinking to make this a straight-thru drive with possibly a stop at Wally World or a Flying J to rest for a few hours. This will save us the time of having to make a side trip to a camp site for only a short nights stopover.
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Old 03-18-2009, 04:37 PM   #8
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I have found these useful. Amazon.com: Florida Atlas & Gazetteer: Delorme, null: Books. I found bookdocking spots that were not on other maps.

Have fun!
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Old 03-18-2009, 06:59 PM   #9
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I-10 in Louisiana is definitely rough in some stretches. I hauled a 38 ft park model from Lakeland, FL, to Houston a week ago. LA has done some good work with new asphalt on parts of I-10 and those rough stretches really make one appreciate the new surfaces. Thank God our roads aren't like those in 3rd world countries!!!!

Godspeed,
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Old 03-18-2009, 08:28 PM   #10
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

Keep the postings and photos coming. We are really enjoying them.
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Old 03-20-2009, 03:45 PM   #11
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Day 11. We left from Kings Bay GA today. We decided to not use a campground, but to boondock instead, on our way to Virginia. We enjoyed a leisure morning while we packed and hooked the trailer. No hurry to leave at all. We planned to stay at either a Walmart or Flying J for a few hours in order to arrive at our campground in Williamsburg Va at about noon on Friday. Going through South Carolina was an unusual experience, since I95 runs through mainly forested areas instead of cities and commercial areas like I'm used to. This makes for a very nice drive, but hard to pick out places to stop "on the fly". We entered North Carolina and I used the Garmin to find a Walmart in Smithfield. It was a good choice. There were already 4 to 5 RVs there when we pulled in about 10:30. It was very rainy; a cold front had just passed. Temperatures were already down in the low 40's. Nevertheless, the airstream made a very nice warm shelter from the storm and we got about 7 hours of good sleep before dawn.

(Camping World's are not all the same). We saw a camping world sign in South Carolina and I thought this would be a good opportunity to check my trailer's tires. It's always hard for me to find an easy spot, with an air hose, to get in and out of. We had last visited a store in Houston that was large with all kinds of facilities for the traveling public. (wifi, coffee, store, etc. etc.). This one was just the basic store, albeit very complete inventory. They had no facility to air up my Airstream in front of the store. So off we went. As it turned out, a Love's station in Virgina was the best for checking and filling tires.
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Old 03-20-2009, 04:46 PM   #12
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Keep posting I'm loving your travels. Hubby want to know if you have a weight distribution system on you truck? If you don't that could be the cause of the non-stop bouncing going through Louisanna. You need to have about 500lbs of tounge weight to have it balanced.

I can't wait to hit the road like you are doing.

Annette
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Old 03-20-2009, 04:51 PM   #13
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Day 12 - Into Virginia

Friday - After resting at the Walmart in Smithfield, NC we crossed into Virginia on I95. We almost missed the visitor center. Virginia put their rest area precisely on the state line, not a few miles in like other states. We got our maps and state park camping information.

Since Georgia I wanted some boiled peanuts. but never saw any roadside stands or whatever that advertised peanuts while going through Georgia or the Carolinas. At the Va line they had an advertisement for a store only 1 mile away. We just had to try the "Good Earth Peanut Co". Unfortunately, I learned boiled peanuts are only made in late August or September. Maybe we have to try this again then.

We stopped at a Love's in Va for gas, coffee and air in the tires. We thought about resting at the attached McDonald's but discovered this was a "smoking allowed" McDonalds, even employees. How unusual. Coffee to go was the way to go. We paid $1.85 for diesel. That's lowest we've encountered in a long time. It certainly makes those high prices of last summer a distant memory.

The rep at the visitor center recommended to take a route east to a ferry across the James River, rather than I95 through Richmond (Garmin/Google route). This was a good suggestion. The trip was scenic and the chance to take an Airstream on the ferry was a treat We saw Jamestown Island and the first settlement while crossing the river. We will visit Colonial Williamsburg the next two days. We checked into the campground and immediately went to buy tickets for the tour.
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Old 03-20-2009, 04:57 PM   #14
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Nice pictures of your guy on the ferry.

Brian
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