Sweet Home Alabama

I’m parked for a few nights at the Wind Creek Casino in Atmore, Alabama. I was thrilled to find this place since it is a great location to drop the rig and go explore the Gulf Coast with my truck!

The weather is dreary, so I have decided to delay seeing the Gulf of Mexico for just one more day. I’m going to hang out at home this afternoon, get some rest, and plan an awesome itinerary for tomorrow!

My last night in Georgia was pretty good. I woke up raring to go… at 2:30AM. I threw off a bunch of blankets as the temperature in the loft was almost infernal and I managed to get back to sleep for four hours. When I got up at 6:30, I was unusually awake and decided to just have my coffee and banana and take off. The outside weather was just a notch cooler than balmy and a real treat.

It was still very dark at 7:00!!!


I had just gotten on the interstate when I glanced at my dashboard and decided that I really need an auditory signal that screams, “Look at your gas gauge, dummy!” I wasn’t in the red, but almost.

Moments thereafter, I saw a sign for a Love’s travel centre, so decided to try my luck there and had an uneventful fill up. I can’t believe how far $125 goes in the U.S.!

Before long, I crossed over into Alabama and stopped to get some tourist info.

My rig in Alabama.

My rig in Alabama.

I stopped at the next rest area for a bite to eat and to change the bad nut in my battery bank since I managed to find one the correct size in my hardware bin. Voltage on the battery was 12.5 and 10.7 in the rig before the switch, then the same! Woohoo! I noticed that the inside of the bad nut had a bit of corrosion, which surely wasn’t helping.

There was another Love’s just before the casino, so I decided to top off the tank. This chain is definitely going to be my fueling stop of choice from now on.

The casino is conveniently located just off of I-65. It has lots of RV parking, but no hookups. There is no stay limit (within reason) as long as you go in and spend some money, which I always do when I am at a casino.

I’ve got power, it’s almost warm out there, and would you look at that, I’m finally overnighting somewhere that I can get my rig and a palm tree in the same photo!


WOW! (And an adventure)

This afternoon, I set to work cleaning up the rig, but a broom was no match for The Great Confetti Disaster of 2013. Hmm… voltage was super high since full sun was hitting the solar panels and the battery was at 94% capacity.

I turned on the whole house inverter. So far so good and I was drawing barely 0.1 amps more than when I’d just been running the fridge. I plugged my Magic Vac into the dressing room outlet and gingerly switched it on.

You know what happened?! NOTHING. My inverter didn’t explode and my rig didn’t implode. The vacuum ran for the two minutes I needed it to run and I lost 0.1% battery capacity. OMG, I can vacuum when I boondock! Wait, why am I happy about this?!

That’s the good news. The bad news is that as soon as the sun started to set, I once again got a discrepancy between my inside readings and the batteries themselves. Not as bad as yesterday, but still annoying. I am going to try to find a lock nut of the correct size for my fuse and see if that helps.

As for the adventure, I noticed Red Lobster was across the road from the rig. That’s a huge treat for me! I haven’t gone there since the fall of 2011 and the time before that was in 2007, so I didn’t feel that going there tonight was particularly excessive.

But the area here isn’t pedestrian friendly, so I had to walk two blocks to the nearest traffic signal, then hike those two blocks again through bushes and a ditch to reach the restaurant! The trip back in the dark was particularly fun, but the exercise was good. 🙂

Georgia Nostalgia

I am parked at the Walmart in Newnan Georgia, the state where the trajectory my old life was taking suddenly look a wild detour! Tomorrow, I get to start adding new states to my map! 🙂

The morning was a bit rough. I couldn’t get online (note to self, reboot the phone next time this happens) and with the laptop being nearly dead, I decided to drive to a rest area about an hour and a half away for breakfast. So I took off without even having coffee.

The GPS routed me at a diagonal through secondary roads back to I-85 just ahead of the rest area. This route was a little bit of work first thing in the morning, but nothing too difficult.

I got back on the interstate and drove through Gaffney, which boasts a big peach for a water tower:


I cheered when I saw the sign announcing the rest area just after and went WTF???!!! that it was closed with no information about how far the next one was. I checked the DOT website last night and there was no mention of a closure!

I drove. Short of stopping in a busy town and looking for a place to stop, this was the only option. I did want to get through Atlanta sooner than later, so I decided to just get some mileage under me.

At Piedmont, I saw a sign for a Pilot Travel Centre, so I took a chance that there would be room to park. Nope, and I barely got out without having to unhook again. I am NEVER going to a Pilot again!!!

I got out of there, stopped at a red light, and saw the most beautiful sight ahead of me: a crumbling shell of a building with an unblocked U-shaped driveway.


I managed to get online while the coffee was brewing, dealt with my most pressing matters, made a couple of calls (including that I could park here in Newnan), and got under way again.

I passed a rest area at Anderson, shortly after Piedmont (figures), then the Georgia Welcome Center, but I wasn’t ready to stop. Little did I know, there would be no more obvious stops available to me.

I didn't know that Tiger Direct has an actual physical store.

I didn’t know that Tiger Direct has an actual physical store.

Before long, Atlanta was upon me:

First glimpse of Atlanta.

First glimpse of Atlanta.

I’d done my research and knew that driving straight through in the middle lanes was the best course of action. The semis have to use the by-pass, so that means there are no vehicles bigger than an RV driving through downtown.

Traffic was a little thick in spots, but Montreal traffic is never this easy. So I was really glad I didn’t get worked up over crossing Atlanta or lose any sleep over it!

Cruising through downtown Atlanta, the pace and traffic relaxed enough to enjoy the scenery.

Cruising through downtown Atlanta, the pace and traffic relaxed enough to enjoy the scenery.

It’s a bit early to be stopped for the day, but I am knackered! The lot is big and mostly empty, so I’m not taking up valuable parking space. I’ll take this time to clean up the rig a little (don’t ask me how, but my shredder flew across the office and the cats got into the shredded paper and there is now confetti EVERYWHERE), then I might go to Applebee’s for dinner (hey, I can’t remember the last time I went to Applebee’s, so I’m due!).

I also need to figure out where I’m stopping tomorrow. I was thinking of a Walmart in Mobile, but I wouldn’t mind finding a place where I could park for a couple of nights so that I could take a road trip into Florida. I have only most technically been to Florida, so I side trip to Pensacola might be in order.

Then, New Orleans, probably for a week! I’ll be staying at an inexpensive RV park so that I will have the option to take off with the truck to explore the environs and possibly even overnight. I really need a break from my cats. 🙂

The power situation is good so far today. It’s been too cloudy to get a full charge, but the sun has come out and there are a few hours left, so I will be fine tonight. The batteries are at 94% right now and we’re supposed to stay above freezing tonight! YAAAAAY.

My mood is much improved over yesterday. How could it not knowing that tomorrow I will finally see the Gulf of Mexico?

I continue to be amused by the comments I get that my blog is not about travel when, even with a year’s hiatus in Lethbridge, I have covered this much ground in just over four years:


Travels Without Miranda, #8: Tybee Island, Georgia

I finally made it to Savannah in the spring of 2008, six months before I left Ottawa with Miranda. This harried road trip featuring bad motels and restaurant food convinced me that there had to be a better way to travel.

After spending a sticky day exploring Savannah’s historic district, I decided that the next day should be spent visiting the environs, my expedition culminating at Tybee Island, Savannah’s ocean playground.

It was the first week of April and still bitter cold back home, but on Tybee the sun was shining and it was hot. The Atlantic ocean beckoned me and I heeded its call, wading in carefully, then plunging in head first when I discovered, to my delight, that the water was warm!

Tybee Island lighthouse

Tybee Island lighthouse

view of Tybee beach from the top of the lighthouse

view of Tybee beach from the top of the lighthouse

Swimming opened up my appetite and I went off in search of lunch, finding it at a shack-type restaurant right on the beach called the North Beach Grill. I decided to take a chance on it since it was packed. It was a fantastic experience; a cruddy little restaurant open to sea breezes, salt shakers rusty from the sea air, rum flowing liberally, and Caribbean-style music booming from speakers. I ordered ‘grilled shrimp’ which was nothing like what I expected. I got whole shrimp, still in the shell with the legs on ’em, swimming in a cajunny-style sauce with a helping of freshly cut fries. It was one of the most undignified, delicious, and fun meals of my life. It took forever to peel those suckers using my fingers! It was there that I realised that coastal Georgia is a world unto itself where sweet tea runs freely, huge mountains of sweet shrimp big as a thumb cost less than a burger, and the people know how to take the time to breathe and enjoy a moment. It’s not paradise, but came pretty close to that for a sun and warmth-starved gal who had just fled winter!

That day in the water reminded me that when I am drained, water can renew me. I remembered this my first day in Edmonton.

(As a side note, that night I received an email that changed my life forever. But that’s another story, part of which you read whenever you visit this blog.)

Day Six

Day Six

Florida is less than two hours from Savannah, so I decided to go home by way of there just to say I’d been to Florida. I’d initially planned to spend the late morning in Jacksonville, but several things derailed this plan, including the cold and wet weather that would have prevented me from going to the beach, and an upcoming unplanned trip to Winnipeg that meant I needed to shorten the trip to save money.

So, I drove to the Florida welcome centre:

where I called Winnipeg to schedule my interview, and then I headed back north on a slower road.

I had initially wanted to get home in four or five days using these slower roads, but now that wasn’t an option. I needed to get home much more quickly. So, I eventually returned to I-95 and then shot north past Savannah, hoping to make it to North Carolina that night. But by the time I crossed into South Carolina, it was already late afternoon and I was beat. I got the motel guide and decided to make Florence my destination for the night. I made it to Walterboro, a 100 miles shy of Florence.

Other than going to Florida, and calling Winnipeg from Florida, there was nothing particularly memorable about this day.