Oct 192009

Actually, we had more than just a single ray of sunshine yesterday. The heavy clouds that have been hanging over northern Indiana broke up, and by mid-day we actually had blue sky again! After days of gloom, it sure was a treat! And while we’re not suffering under a heat wave, the temperature is actually supposed to be a bit higher, clear up to 60, this week.

Except for putting the cover page together and a final proofing, the new issue of the Gypsy Journal is finished, and we plan to take it to our printer in Michigan today. Then we’ll scoot over to Muskegon and spend the night with Rocky and Berni Frees to get in one final game of Mexican Train before we head south.

I plan to spend a lot of time telling Rocky that while he is shoveling snow and shivering this winter, I plan to be kayaking in the Florida Keys and basking in the Arizona sunshine. Yeah, I know, that’s not very nice, but if you can’t rub a guy’s nose in it once in a while, what fun is life?

We still don’t know what route we’ll take south. We’ve been down Interstate 75 so many times we could probably drive it in our sleep. Every year for the past five or six years we have taken the same route, usually with a few days’ stop at the Escapees Raccoon Valley RV park near Knoxville, Tennessee along the way. That’s all well and good, but we’re bored and would like to see some new territory for a change.

If the weather cooperates, we’d like to get over to the coast and follow it south. We’ve never been to the coast of the Carolinas and Georgia, so we’re open to suggestions on routes to take and places to see along the way. Please share some tips if you’ve spent any time exploring that region.

On the other hand, if winter starts nipping at our heels, I may just fire up the Cummins diesel in this Winnebago, point the nose south by the most expeditious route, and run over anything slower that gets in my way until I start seeing palm trees!

Thought For The Day – The easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  17 Responses to “A Ray Of Sunshine”

  1. I thought you was going to say “the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to keep looking for and eating at all those Buffets!!!!” LOL (sorry) Safe travels my Friend!!!
    I was 90 here yesterday…….

  2. If you decide to head down the Atlantic seaboard you’ve a great opportunity for some relaxed out-of-the-way fun in the SE corner of Georgia. Check out the area around Brunswick, fifty miles North of Jacksonville. Jekyll Island is well worth a tour. Saint Simons Island is too. New Hope Plantation and the little fishing village of Darien are certainly noteworthy as well. Stuff a few extra pounds of local shrimp in the freezer as you leave.

    Best RV place we found:
    Blythe Island County Park
    Blythe Island Hwy.(Old Jacksonville Hwy) and Sam Coffer Road, Brunswick, GA

    has reasonable rates (super monthly rates).
    The park has a lake where you can kayak and fish, launching ramp into the delta, and kayak opportunities from Brunswick clear back into the Okeefenokee. Take a peek at Google Maps and turn on the Satellite image. You’ll see what I mean.

    Almost accross the street (actually a mile south) is another park that’s not as secluded.

    Golden Isles RV Park
    7445 Blythe Island Hwy, Brunswick, GA

    There’s a breakfast and lunch restaurant at Golden Isles RV Park. It’s true southern family fare; don’t miss a buffet lunch at “Fran’s Place”. If you have any reservations about the place you won’t when you find thirty pick-ups in the parking lot for lunch! Go a little after the rush and Fran will probably sit down with you and treat you to some true “South”. She’s a sweet heart.

    Best to you both, and we’ll see you in Yuma!

    Bill and Anna Tourtillott

  3. You could go south till you get to I-64 to Richmond and thay nose south on I-95 or either US 1, US 301 probably a lot of historical markers that way you didn’t see before.
    This is an area rich in Civil war history. We get to FL in Nov, maybe we can catch up with each other.

  4. Nick, If you plan on seeing the Jersey coast, think twice. While the sign says “Welcome to New Jersey” they will charge you an arm and a leg to get out of the state. I should know, I live here and have to pay to escape all the time. Janis

  5. If you check our blog you will see that we have been following that route since we left Elkhart… Todays is all about Jekyll Island..

    Travel safe,

  6. I second Blythe Island Regional RV Park, Jekyll and St. Simon’s Island. If you’re there on Sunday, get reservations for the Sunday Champagne Brunch at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel. Dress jeans and nice shirt, all you can eat. Pricey about $40 a person but after brunch you will NOT be eating dinner. If you are hungry again before Monday morning, I would be surprised. So think of it as two meals in one. Scrumptious!!!!
    Also we love Virginia (I-81), Asheville, NC (come down I-26), Georgia has some lovely state parks, a tour of old Savannah is super. Then there are all those civil war battlefields. Lots to see and do in the south.
    We are presently at Racoon Valley. It was 28 last night and foggy this morning. 38 and almost 9:45am. UGH!!!! You want to get down the to lower coastal area and enjoy the warmer air. It’s not warm here. Headed south ASAP. Connie B.

  7. Also love Charleston. Like Savannah not burned during Civil War (or really War Between the States or better yet The War of Aggression). Lots of history and old time buildings. Connie B.

  8. Savannah and its many squares well worth a visit. Skidaway Island State Park is just outside of Savannah and would make a good home base. If you can’t get a spot at Skidaway, check out Fort McAllister State Park in Richmond Hill. (We spend a lot of time in that area between family and Habitat work – check out our website’s campground page for links.)

    The Might 8th Air Force Museum in Pooler, national historic sites in St. Simon’s and Richmond Hill – you can easily stay busy days in that corner of GA.

    Great suggestions about Brunswick and area. Blythe Island is close enough to Jekyll Island to make it your home base while you explore the area. If the weather cooperates, pack up your bikes and tour Jekyll Island by bike. Just park at any of the beach parking lots, or even in the historic village and pick a path. You can actually tour the entire island on their bike paths. Lots of geocaches on the island including a really cool one not far from the beach.

    Just north of Brunswick is Hofwyl Plantation – an amazing visit, especially if you get the same ranger we did who’s been doing this tour for 15 years but is passionate about the place still.

    We always stock up on sweet Georgia shrimp – yum! And one of our favorite pizza places is in Brunswick – Fox’s Pizza Den. We haven’t been to the buffet at Golden Isles but our Habitat construction supervisor would get away weekly for their seafood buffets – probably one of the trucks spotted there! One of our favorite breakfast stops was at the Jekyll Island Hotel for their Sunday morning buffet (the earlier affordable buffet not the expensive brunch later) – a bike ride afterwards will work off those calories.

    Enjoy the area!

    Lu and Larry

  9. We’ve never been on the east coast at all, so we look forward to following your trip — and to new stories in the Journal.

  10. As one travels east of the Mississippi, it seems that all of its history involved early pioneers who came west via the Cumberland Gap. We visited the Gap 2 years ago just to see how big a challenge it was. It has been graded, re-graded and finally restored to the original profile (mostly). A tunnel takes traffic under the gap today. An interesting stop on one’s way south. Gene

  11. Nick, Chuck and I love to take what we call “The Ferry Route” south. We start in Richmond VA and take all the ferry’s along the coast from place to place. It’s a great way to go south! You’ll go across Chesapeke (sp?) Bay, see all the capes, spend time on Hatteras and Ocracoke and see all the sites others are telling you about. Give it a thought and happy traveling!


  12. Hi Nick..We left Wisconsin August 13 and have been traveling the NE, we are now in Quinby VA, which is a TT park (I believe you are members)..it is right on Hog back bay, great for kayaking..come see us…we plan on being in Orlando by Nov 20 and heading down the coast…
    FYI…..The USS New York, the ship was built in New Orleans, using some of the scrap from the Twin Towers is heading to NYC to be commissioned, and will be making a stop in Norfolk this week. we will be driving over to see her…Come on down!!
    Jake & Nancy

  13. in Savannah, have lunch at Mrs. Wilkes’ Boarding House. It is an experience as well as good southern food and lots of it! The way to see Charleston is on a carriage ride – WOW! Also Plantation Drive outside Charleston is good and the only plantation home left standing, Drayton Hall, has tours. .The boat to Fort Sumpter also does a harbor tour and the fort is quite interesting. Somewhere along the way have a “low country boil” for lunch. Around Brunswick, Jekyll Island is fascinating and St. Simons has “carved tree spirits” to find. Good Luck! We are hoping to get back there next September and want to see it all again!

  14. Sounds like a great plan…. The coast drive is slower but so much more scenic, Have a great time whichever you choose.

    Travel Safe

  15. If you go to Savannah and have time, read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. It’s a true story and will make your Savannah visit much more interesting. Don’t forget the Outer Banks of North Carolina unless you wanted to start further south. You have my travel letters from there that covers about all there is to see and do.
    Joyce Space

  16. This is to keep you amused (one way or another) when you get to S. Florida:


    Either a whole new hobby, or at least a chuckle from the web.

    Best –

    Bill and Anna -Olympia, WA

  17. You could easily take a month to reach Florida, if you wish. Combine the suggestions above with our list and it may take longer.

    Over to Great Smokey Mountain National Park, in that general area you can see…
    Sevierville, make your own Karaoke CD at Big Mama’s Karaoke
    Gatlinburg, don’t miss the “non-skiing” ski lift ride.
    Maggie Valley, Cherokee Reservation and Ashville
    Up to you on Vanderbilt House, not cheap, $48 per head for self guided walking tour, Ok we get it. They were rich.
    See Rock City…see the signs
    Chimney Rock, Blowing Rock, then head to Raleigh and then the Outerbanks of NC as mentioned
    You could take a side tour to Williamsburg, Yorktown and Norfolk Va for history and World’s largest Naval Base.
    When entering NC’s Outerbanks from the north end, after the bridge, on your right, there is a Walmart then a Home Depot then a state visitor’s center that is well equipped especially with brochures of everything that is anything anywhere close by.
    Outerbanks don’t misses… Currituck Lighthouse, Whalehead Club Museum, Jolly Roger Restaurant for best breakfast on the beach as well as best Karaoke, Wright Brothers Memorial, Jockey’s Ridge, when you head to Roanoke Island to visit the Manteo waterfront (or on your way back) stop at Lone Cedar Rest for a great lunch, then head south to Bodie Lighthouse, Oregon Inlet for great surf cast fishing, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and on to Ocracoke Island (voted best US islolated, pristine beaches for several years)
    From Ocracoke you can catch ferry to points south towards Jacksonville NC to pick up 17 South to Myrtle Beach (don’t miss Carolina Theatre) on to Charleston and Savannah etc.
    One caution: check on size of Ferry vs size of your rig with NC state ferry system as they are very small, but free, ferries.

    If you cant take ferries south you’ll need to return to Manteo and take 64 west to 17 South near Williamston…you do not want to break down on 64 west at night as it is very very isolated.

    Hope this helps, Ron

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