We are seven+ weeks into our Grand RV Adventure, and we’ve been on the move - TWICE in the last week - so it’s time for another map update!
From Santee State Park in SC, we took a quick trip East to Myrtle Beach State Park to visit with our grandson. It was wonderful! Too quick, but two nights was the most I could find when I had to rearrange our trip as Steve’s retirement date shifted.
We pulled into Myrtle Beach State Park on Thursday, leveled up, set up, hosted a lovely get together with family on Friday, and then packed up and left early Saturday to repeat the process all over again Saturday afternoon at our present location. This was a lot of work in a short period of time. While we will avoid a repeat performance in the future if possible, I would also do it all over again without blinking an eye!
It’s been nearly a year since I held this child (oops, young man) in my arms and had the chance to tell him in person how very much I love him. You are looking at one incredibly happy Gram, who got to spend the day visiting with and feeding people I love. I reveled in hugs galore, and enjoyed a marvelous day in every way possible.
After seven weeks on the road, it was sooooo good to spend the day with people we know and love and have a history with, to share stories and memories, and to catch up on all that’s been happening in their lives! And, I got to meet my grandson’s girlfriend (who I absolutely adore, btw)!
A big shout out to our in-laws, Tom & Denise, who brought burgers and dessert, leaving the sides for a hungry crowd to me. In addition to typical “picker“ foods, I made my friend Cathi’s amazing Quinoa Spinach Salad with pecans and apples, as well as macaroni and cheese homemade in my Ninja Pressure Cooker. The white beans with rosemary, lemon and frizzled onions served over farro was a big hit, especially with my grandson!
We followed up dinner with a campfire and toasted marshmallows served up between two bakery fresh chocolate chip cookies before saying goodbye (until next time, when we will absolutely stay longer!).
Of course, two mornings in Myrtle Beach also meant two opportunities for me to dip my toes in the water and greet the sun as it crested the horizon. I took full advantage, and (of course) have a few sunrise photos to share with you as well!
The topography of Myrtle Beach State Park is quite remarkable, in my opinion. Nestled among the hubbub of a highly commercialized beach town, this little park offers a lovely beach, beautiful nature trails thick with vegetation, a few brackish ponds, and a grove of live oaks just before you reach the beach. I could sit for hours pondering the branch structure of these trees! Their magnificent shape has been influenced over time by the wind coming off the ocean, which lends the appearances of a purposefully sculpted landscape crafted by the hand of an equally magnificent artist. But then, Mother Nature is magnificent, isn’t she?
Despite its busy location, wildlife is abundant at Myrtle Beach State Park. An array of birds flit about all day and into the evening, filling the air with their song. Last time we visited the park, a raccoon climbed down out of a tree not three feet from me and walked right over to my ice chest as if s/he had encountered that particular model on many occasions and knew exactly how to open it. We had been forewarned about the little rascals, and had it strapped closed, so s/he went off in search of an easier heist.
On Saturday, we continued our trek northward to our current location, Cheraw State Park near Cheraw, SC. This is a tiny campground (only 18 campsites) situated on Lake Juniper in northern central South Carolina. The park offers an 18-hole golf course, a nice recreational area, and boat rentals that Steve and I hope to take advantage of while we’re here.
I’m writing this blog post as I sit by the water’s edge, which is in our “front yard for the week.” A gentle wind is creating little waves that lap at the shoreline not five feet from my rocker. It rained yesterday and last night (a lot!), and so the earth has that fresh smell and the fragrance of the pine needles underfoot wafts up as you walk across them, mingling perfectly with the distinctive scent of our neighbor’s campfire started just moments ago. The rays of the sun warm me as it slowly sets across the lake to my left, birds are chirping, small insects are buzzing, and it’s so incredibly quiet and peaceful. Here’s the visual:
We took a 6.8 mile walk today with Bandit & Oakley to explore the park and walk the nature trail, and so my hammock (also set up within feet of the lake in our front yard) is calling me. I’ll pop over there as soon as I wrap up this entry. It looks really inviting, right?
I can’t believe we’ve been gone for over seven weeks now! We’ve packed so much (literally and figuratively) into these seven weeks!
By literally, I’m talking about all the things I brought with me that I thought absolutely couldn’t cook / work / exist without (70% of which I haven’t touched except to move it from place to place to get to the things I really do need!). Last week, I gifted my once-favorite camping chair to a young family, having grown tired of moving it from its storage place at the top of our cargo carrier at each stop. It is the most comfortable outdoor chair I’ve ever used, but I purchased a more compact rocking chair better suited to my aging knees and our limited storage capacity, and I’m extremely happy with my decision. Steve likes the extra room in the cargo carrier, too!
We have also packed a lot of great experiences into these seven weeks: quiet moments in nature, long walks with the dogs, campfires, naps in the hammock, journaling, day dreaming, time spent closely observing the world around me, time visiting with loved ones, and more! On the work side of the equation, I’ve created some new jewelry designs that I’m really pleased with, gathered inspirational photos to influence my future work in colored porcelain, and fleshed out some ideas for how I can make a living while living (at least part-time, and potentially full-time) on the road.
Just the other day, one of our daughters asked us if we missed home, to which I replied, “Hah! We’re having the time of our lives!“ We really are! I expected RV Living to be complicated. In its own way, it can be. Paradoxically, RV Living is also incredibly simple! Our lifestyle these past seven weeks has helped us to really see the world and our place in it more clearly. It has helped us to isolate the important things, and to weed out the clutter (physical and psychological) that takes up so much space in our daily lives. I’ve found this aspect of our journey to be immensely helpful as Steve and I contemplate the next chapter in our life together, and I am so very grateful for this opportunity!
We have just two weeks left, but those weeks will also be packed with memories and moments we’ll treasure forever, too! My potter peeps may have already noted that we are situated due south of Seagrove, NC, the pottery capital of the US. This is no accident! I have wanted to visit Seagrove for years, and on Friday that wish will come true! We found a place right in Seagrove to camp on Friday and Saturday nights through Boondockers Welcome, giving me two blissful days to visit as many potters and potteries as I can before we head to Cave Mountain Lake Family Campground near the Blue Ridge Parkway.
I’ll share pictures from Seagrove as soon as I’m able, but expect another delay in my posting schedule as our next stop is in a national forest with no cell service and no hook-ups. Boiling down to the simple things in life again, the campground does offer flush toilets and warm showers, which sit right at the edge of my hard line in the sand for a week-long off-grid stay. We’re pretty excited to spend our last full week on the road off-grid. Being unplugged in a quiet and remote setting will be a great way to top off our Grand RV Adventure. Also, I can’t think of a better way to prepare my entire being for the coming weeks of craziness as I return to production and preparation for the Chester County Studio Tour in May.
If you’re local to me, I hope you’ll save the date (May 20 & 21) to come experience the arts throughout Chester County, where you’ll find 200 artists exhibiting at 79 studios. I’m pleased to host Christina Ritter (Painter), LynnMarie Whitt (Wire & Jewelry Artist) and Paul Vanderwoude (Photographer) to exhibit with me at my home studio. Come say hello!
I usually sign off with a photo of Steve and I, but this week I chose a photo that’s also includes our grandson, Nathan, and his lovely girlfriend, Cheyenne. I will treasure the memory of this day spent with them forever!
Thanks for following us on our journey! It’s so great to have you along for the ride!
See you in a week (or so),
Susan (and Steve and Bandit and Oakley)