Dropping The House Price - Friday - September 16, 2011

I woke up this morning and Nancy was already on the treadmill.  It was certainly cooler and windy today, so Nancy had decided on an indoor walk.  I did my walk outside and she was right it was really breezy!!

Nancy had to work at 11am, so I resigned myself that today would be an easy day.  Just some routine cleaning and housekeeping to be sure all is ready for the next potential buyer.  About 11:45 the phone rang and it was our Realtor.

We have had 13 showings in the three months we've had the house listed with him.  No showings in the last couple of weeks.  After a lengthy conversation with him, I agreed to lower the price of our home again to attract more showings and hopefully, an offer or two. His argument was that with all the showings we have had, we should have had some offers.  We haven't!  That tells him based on his experience that we are at least 5 to 10 percent high on the price.  We are relying on his expertise and experience to get our home sold. So we need to lower the price ;o((

I was reluctant to agree to the price drop without calling Nancy at work.  However, I also know how she feels about selling the house... Just Do It.... Get It Sold...  Get Her Retired!!! 

I kept thinking about our time at Cheraw State Park last week and how we just love the RVing lifestyle.  I also was doing some mental calculations and analyzing how much the house was costing us each month :-(  How long were we willing to stick to our listing price?

Deep down I know the sooner we sell this place, the better we both are going to be.  The market still stinks, but we aren't getting any younger.  It is time to get this show on the road!! I hope our Real Estate Agent is right about his analysis.  Only time will tell.

To lighten my frame of mind, I spent an hour or two on the Internet looking at RVs.  That's always a pick me up! When Nancy got home I told her what I did. As expected, her reply was "What took you so long? Just do what you need to do to sell the house!!"

A Visit to Buck Hall - Thursday - September 15, 2011

We have wanted to scout out Buck Hall for some time.  Buck Hall is a small Federal Recreation Area with a campground and a boat launch. It is located in the Francis Marion National Forest.  Nancy had to work today, so I asked a good friend of ours, Bill Jordan, to go on a mini-road trip.

Click Photos to Enlarge

00 - Buck Hall Recreation Area Map

Buck Hall Recreation Area is about 55 miles south of us,
between Georgetown and Charleston, South Carolina. 
 Buck Hall Area Map
Red Dot is Buck Hall Recreation Area

Zooming in a little closer
.Buck Hall Area Map 2
Red line is Buck Hall Road off Highway 17.

Zooming in a little closer and with satellite.Buck Hall Area Map 3
You can see the campground loop near the
Intercoastal Waterway.

It took us about 75 minutes to get their from our house.  So it is certainly a place to consider for both camping and kayaking.  There is a day use fee of $5 ($2.50 with the Senior National Park Pass).  After we paid our $2.50 fee, we decided to check out the campground first and then launch the Sea Eagle.

The campground is small with 14 RV sites and
about 6-7 tent camping sites.
Campground Satellite
RV Sites are in the large circle.
The Tent Sites are in the lower area of the photo along the water. 
The dump is the small circle attached to the RV circle.
The boat launch is at the end of Buckhall Landing Road
 in the upper part of the photo.

The RV Sites are huge, paved and capable of
handling the Biggest RV’s and a boat.01 - Campground01a - Campsite
Each campsite is paved, has 50 amp electric,
water, cement picnic table and fire ring.

01b - Campsite Van facing intercoastal
Large site facing the intercoastal waterway.

01c - Campsite Large Fifth Wheel
Large fifth wheel and truck.

01d - Campsite Trailer, boat, truck
This site had a trailer, boat and truck.

04 - Tenting Area
Tent Camping Area along the intercoastal waterway.

02 - Bath House
Bath House had showers and was centrally located. 
Nothing special, but functional.

There are no sewer connections, but the dump station is large and easy access.  Most of the campers had boats with them as the intercoastal waterway boat launch is right in the recreation area.

The best part is that the sites were $20 per night (only $10) with the Senior National Park Pass.  What a deal!!  The downside, if you can call it a downside, is the max stay is 14 days and you can only make reservations on-line on Reserve America.  We feel certain, we will be using this campground when we full-time and have to be back in the area to help Nancy's mom. Buck Hall and Huntington Beach will put us near her residence and we could flip-flop the 14 day limits back and forth between the two when we need to stay in the area for an extended time. 

Before we launched the kayak, we drove over to the picnic area.03 - Picinic Area on Intercoastal
Nice spot for lunch if we come down just for a day of kayaking.

Next we got the Sea Eagle ready to float and
took is down to the boat launch.
05 - Kayaking - What are friends for
That’s what friends are for ;o))      Thanks Bill J.

05b - Kayaking - Ready to launch

We paddled about 4 to 5 miles along the intercoastal waterway.  It feeds the Atlantic Ocean so the kayaking range is limited.  Couple that will all the boat traffic and I think we might need to explore some of the smaller creeks in the area.  There was very limited wildlife, but a dozen “Gone With the Wind” mansions along the waterway that were quite a beautiful sight!!  We timed the tides perfect (thanks to Nancy giving us the tide schedule) so the paddling was easy :o)

All in all, it was a great day!  Beautiful weather, nice campground and a good kayak trip.  We stopped at Lands End, a restaurant at the Georgetown marina, for a late lunch and then headed home.

Good Friends, Good Weather, Good Fun….

Life is Good!!

Departure Day :o( - Monday - September 12, 2011

RV-Dreams - Carolina Clan, Day 5

Click any photo to enlarge

Today would be our last day here at Cheraw State Park.
We really hated to leave this beautiful place and
our wonderful friends!!

We got up early and walked.
The moon was still out and the sun was just beginning to rise.
01 - Morning Hike - Before Sunrise

Today was a half powerwalk.
Nancy had her camera so I knew she was on a mission this morning.
We headed in our usual direction, around the lake and
down the road towards the Turkey Oak Trailhead.

02 - Morning Hike - Past the Boat Launch
We passed the boat landing next to the campground,
went down the boardwalk and passed the Park Office.

This Hummingbird was getting an early start to his day!
03 - Morning Hike - Humming Bird Park Office

We continued down the road passed the golf course.
04 - Morning Hike - Past the Golf Course

Then Nancy saw a bird high in the tree!!

Could it be the elusive Red Cockaded Woodpecker??

05 - Morning Hike - Nope not a Woodpecker
Nope  ;-(  So we continued on towards the trailhead.

We had almost reached the Turkey Oak Trailhead,
when we met Ranger Mark.

He stopped his truck, got out and asked
 if we had seen the woodpeckers yet.

We told him no and he said to go back
to the restricted area we had passed.
Then just walk into the area and listen.
We would hear them and see them this time of the morning!!!

Well, I knew Nancy would be spending some time on this adventure,
 so we parted ways.

I continue my powerwalk and Nancy went woodpecker hunting ;o))

Nancy here:
I headed back to the restricted area as instructed by Ranger Mark.
06 - Morning Hike - Woodpecker Sign

Having been given permission to enter the area, I did and just stood quietly and listen.  It was really amazing.  You could hear the woodpeckers talking to each other.  They would pop in and out of their holes in the trees.

Getting any sort of photo was going to be a challenge.  They were never still.  The RCWs are small birds and move extremely quickly.  If they did stop it was very high up in the trees.

Can you see this fellow???

Holding my camera as still as possible,
I zoomed in as much as possible.

Finally..... The Red Cockaded Woodpecker !!!

Just a little closer ;o))

I spent quite a bit of time just watching and listening to these fun woodpeckers. They were very vocal and seemed to have quite a community in the grove of long-leaf pines.

As I turned to leave, I heard this one making a new hole. He sat on that branch hammering away!!

08e - Morning Walk - Woodpecker high in Tree building new hole closeup

I could have spent more time just watching and listening, but it was time to head back. At least I know that the endangered Red Cockaded Woodpecker has a great home here in the Long-leaf Pines of Cheraw State Park!!

These pine cones are where it all begins.

Here is the new generation of Long-leaf Pines.

As I headed back to the campground, I saw a few more things that just need to be photographed…

Here is the Tea Cup Long-leaf Pine !!


Doesn't he look inquisitive???
11 - Morning Walk - Squirrel  

Uh Oh… didn’t see this sign before ;o))
12 - Morning Walk - Uh Oh Didn't see this sign before

Just..... BEAUTIFUL !!!
13 - Morning Walk - Pretty Grasses

Jill and Paul paddling on Lake Juniper :o)

What a great way to spend my last morning at Cheraw!!
Now, back to Bill :o))

Back at the campsite, we leisurely took our time
breaking camp and getting ready to leave.

We shared a few more laughs and lots of hugs,
before heading to the dump to empty our tanks.

 The Last Dirty Deed ;o))

Of course, it is never Goodbye, just See You Down the Road!

We all agreed to meet again next year,
probably at Huntington Beach State Park,
sometime after Labor Day. 

I’d be willing to bet the Carolina Clan may grow in size before then :o))

We got home safely and unpacked both the Pleasureway and the Tahoe.

The last time we saw George, he was taking a moonlight kayak ride with the Carolina Clan.

I’m not sure where George is now,
but I’m sure he will be well taken care of :o))

Until Next Year...

Winding Down, but NOT Done! – Sunday – September 11, 2011

RV-Dreams - Carolina Clan,    Day 4 - Part 1

Click any photo to enlarge

9/11 – A day we will always remember.  Ten years after the tragedy, we knew there would be many tributes throughout the USA.  This is one time I was glad we didn’t have TV, as I didn’t want to see it relived all over again. Our hearts go out to all those who lost loved ones.

Nancy and I did our customary power walk and when we got back to our campsite, Nancy put on her hiking boots and off she went.

Nancy here:  During our power walk, we heard and saw the Red Cockaded Woodpecker at the end of the boardwalk ;-)   However, I did not have my camera ;-(   So I decided to head back out and try to get a photo of these endangered birds.  They were gone by the time I returned to the spot we had seen them, but it was not a wasted hike.  I will do a separate blog of what I did find!!

I relaxed, took a nice long hot shower and sat outside day-dreaming as I looked over the lake.  I kept smiling, thinking about all the fun we’ve had.  Soon we had a crowd of people again at the campsite.

02a - Day 4 - A group has gathered

I don’t quite know how the conversation started about milk, cheese, and dairy, etc.  However, Gail announced proudly that she was from “WisCON’sin, The Dairy State, Don’t Cha Know!”  Rick followed up with, “You Betcha!”  It struck a funny bone with all of us and another set of nicknames was born. 

Rick and Gail  (AKA  YouBetCha and Don’tChaKnow)
04e - The Campfire - Rick and Gail

There was a lot of laughs about last nights moonlight kayak trip. 
Some of us were working on a little extra coffee this morning ;o))
02b - Day 4 - Gail and Gin COFFEE

Unfortunately, it was now time to say,
“See ya down the road”
to some of the Carolina Clan ;o((

02c - Day 4 - Goodbye Laura and Bruce
See you soon, Bruce and Laura!!

02d - Day 4 - Goodbye Ray and Kris
Safe Travels and Happy Trails, Ray and Kris!!

The rest of day, the clan came and went from the campsite. 
We laughed about this and that. 
We even got a wonderful idea from Jill and Paul. 
Paul has made a very simple clothes dryer for the 5th wheel.

How cute is this?!?!
02e - Day 4 - The clothes dryer02f - Day 4 - The clothes dryer closeup

Some of the clan went out for one more kayak trip.

As Dan and Tricia paddled by our site, I mentioned to Nancy how mechanically inclined and clever Dan was.  Years ago there was a TV show called, “MacGyver.”  MacGyver was really handy and could fix anything.  He would use string, rope, matches, and one time he even used a Hershey Bar to fix a nuclear reactor.  Of course, it was pure B.S., but the fictional guy was talented.  So handy Dan got the nickname “MacGyver!”  I also thought he was really good at plotting how and where to hide  “George.”  Dan told me Tricia actually came up the ideas – he just carried them out.  I told Nancy and she said, “What a couple – MacGyver and Conniver!”  Sounds like another nickname to me…

Dan and Tricia (AKA  MacGyver  and  Conniver)02 - Day 4 - MacGyver and Conniver

Tonight was going to be our last night with the Clan ;o(( 

We got the campfire started just as the sun was setting. 

What a spectacular sunset it was…
02h - Day 4 - Sun Set02g - Day 4 - Sun Set02i - Day 4 - Sun Set

Tonight was get rid of the junk food night.  Food came out of every rig!!  There were pretzels, peanuts, chocolate almonds, marshmallows (regular, large chocolate/vanilla and coconut ones), graham crackers, homemade peanut-cashew butter, chocolate bars and coffee cake.  Basically all the important food groups were present ;o))

Yes ladies, I remembered to get the coffee cake recipe for you. 
Just click on the photo to enlarge it!!
02i2 - Day 4 - Coffee Cake

While the coffee cake was great, it definitely was a smores night. 
We were even introduced to Mexican Smores!!

If laughter is the best medicine,
we were all cured of everything this weekend. 

For Nancy and I, it has been quite some time
since we have laughed so much…
day after day!! 

It was wonderful sitting around the campfire
enjoying each others company!!

02j - Day 4 - Campfire

Thanks to each of you
for making this a wonderful time
we will never forget :o))

Moonlight Kayaking - Saturday - September 10, 2011

RV-Dreams - Carolina Clan,    Day 3 - Part 2

Click any photo to enlarge

After our morning hike and visit with the British, we spent the rest of the afternoon just visiting at our campsite and taking a rest.  We all needed to be rested, ready and on the water by 6pm for our Moonlight Kayak Trip!!!

About 5:30, the clan began to get it together and launch their kayaks.

This is Paul and Jill adding some air to their kayak.  At this point they have no idea the seats have been reversed by Sweet Laura ;o))03b - Moonlight Paddle - Paul and Jill Prepping

One by one we launched our kayaks. 03c - Moonlight Paddle - All boats in

The last couple to launch were Jill and Paul.  Just before they put the kayak in the water, Paul checked to see if the seats were facing the right direction.  Oh darn, he figured it out ;o((  Sweet Laura was a little disappointed, but that disappointment was short lived.  Jill was in the kayak and Paul was getting in when the boat flipped over and the two of them were in the lake.  No one was hurt other than their pride. 

Of course they were soaked, so Jill ran back to the RV and changed into dry clothes. While she was gone, Bruce and Laura (AKA The Captain and Tenniel) gave Jill and Paul a new nickname…
“Dunkin Donuts!!”
  03d - Moonlight Paddle - Jill and Paul Upright
One false move around the Carolina Clan and
you will be RENAMED :o))

Once everyone was safely launched, the clan paddled across the lake to meet Ranger Mark at the State Park Boat Beach. From there, we would paddle down to the Cypress Groves in the tail of the lake and then back to the campground.  The entire paddle is a little over 4 miles.
03f10  - Moonlight Paddle - Route Map

Everybody gathered around to wait for Ranger Mark.03e - Moonlight Paddle - Waiting for the Ranger

Gail and Rick
03f1 - Moonlight Paddle - Rick and Gail

Tricia and Dan
03f2 - Moonlight Paddle - Dan and Tricia

Evin and Steve
03f3 - Moonlight Paddle - Evin and Steve   

                     Kris and Ray              Laura and Bruce03f4 - Moonlight Paddle - Kris, Ray, Laura, Bruce

Amanda and Brandon  -  Tricia’s Son and DIL03f5 - Moonlight Paddle - Branden and Amanda

Kathy  - Tricia’s Sister
03f6 - Moonlight Paddle - Kathy

03f - Moonlight Paddle - Gin

03f7 - Moonlight Paddle - Syl

Roamin’ P. Duck
03f8 - Moonlight Paddle - Roamin P Duck

Uh Oh….   I think there’s been a ducknapping!!!03f9  - Moonlight Paddle - Ducknapping

I heard rumors that “George” might be with us also;o))

Around 7pm, once Ranger Mark had given us some information and instructions, we headed down the lake.
03g  - Moonlight Paddle - Ranger Mark paddling

We paddled through a cove.
 03i  - Moonlight Paddle - Into the Cove

As we came out of the cove,
this was the beautiful view of the cypress trees!! 03j  - Moonlight Paddle - First View of the Cypress Trees

We stopped here for a rest and to get more instructions and information from Ranger Mark.03k  - Moonlight Paddle - Ranger Mike Talk Group Shot
If you enlarge the above picture, you will see Gin (waving) in the middle of the photo.  Right behind her you can see Ranger Mark's Dad tying glow sticks in the tree. We all had a glow sticks tied on the front and back of our kayaks and they tied them all along the route so we could find our way out!!  That was a good idea ;o))

03l  - Moonlight Paddle - Ranger Mike Talk
Ranger Mark gave us information about Cheraw State Park and what to expect as we headed farther into the Cypress Trees.  He explained that we may hear and see some Beaver.  They live in the Cypress Groves.

03m  - Moonlight Paddle - Ranger Mike Talk Trees
03n  - Moonlight Paddle - Ranger Mike Talk Wood Ducks
We saw the Wood Duck boxes and the Osprey Nest.03o  - Moonlight Paddle - Ranger Mike Talk Osprey

As you can see from the picture below, the sun was setting and
we could now see the moon as the night got darker!!
03q  - Moonlight Paddle - Moon Higher

Just before we headed deep into the DARK, 
Gail turned on her Droid and played Dueling Banjos,
the theme song from Deliverance…  03p  - Moonlight Paddle - Gail Deliverence Theme
Thanks Gail, we all feel much better now ;o((

03r  - Moonlight Paddle - Sun Lower
The deeper we went…the darker it got, 
but what fun weaving amongst the Cypress Trees. 

Hearing Beavers smacking their tails to let us know
they weren’t happy:o((

Learning what Cypress Knees are as our Kayaks went
 over and around them in the dark waters;o((
03s  - Moonlight Paddle - Trail Narrows

Finally, we got to the end of the trail and it was DARK!!

It may have been a full moon,
but amongst the Cypress Trees,
the moonlight didn’t shine very bright!
03t  - Moonlight Paddle - Very Dark

When Nancy took photos without the flash, the slow shutter speed
made for some interesting effects.

Doesn’t Syl look like she’s part of a parade float ;o))03v  - Moonlight Paddle - Syl in lights

We all gather together and waited for everyone
to get to the turn around point. 
It was eerie, but beautiful. 
 03u  - Moonlight Paddle - Ranger Mike Talk Dark
The quiet was broken by a loud noise, followed by a holler from Gin.  Apparently, one of the beavers thought Gin’s paddle, sitting in the water, was another Beaver.  The REAL Beaver came real close to jumping in her kayak ;o((

Once everyone had arrived, we needed to reverse direction and find our way out in the dark. 

It is a good thing the leaders knew where they were going or I think several of us would have spent the night out there;o))03w  - Moonlight Paddle - Back out of Cypress

The Moonlight Kayak Paddle was FANTASTIC !!! 

This was a first for Nancy and I, paddling in the dark. 
What a beautiful night! 
Everyone had a great time and there were
a lot of tired people when we finished around 9:30. 

No campfire tonight – just a good night’s sleep!!

But first, a quick look around the rig and campsite to make sure “George” isn’t here….