Leaving Atlanta (at a respectable 9:00 a.m.) we continued south on I75 and then east on Interstate 16 towards Savannah, taking 6 hours to drive the 200 miles. Our destination was Fort McAllister State Park where we stayed last time we were in Savannah – 4 years ago? Tom and I do not worship warm temperatures, but it was gratifying to have the thermometer in the high 50’s when we arrived at the State Park!
The park is just as we remembered with large pull-thru sites, and lots of hanging moss for atmosphere. There were a few sites to choose from, and we made the rounds of the two loops twice before settling on our choice.
A quick set-up and brief walk for Charlie was prelude to Cornish hens, roasted potatoes, corn-on-the-cob and tangerines for supper. The only decision left to make as I write this in the evening: shower in the camper – or walk to the shower house? I’ll never tell!
This New Year’s Eve our tribute was to walk the Historical Savannah Factor’s Walk – 10,000 steps!
We drove into town arriving at River Street by mid-morning, where the streets were alive with people and the stores were in full operation. Charlie Button was with us, but the stores were all pet-friendly. Lunch was hot-dogs at an outdoor water-front dock, followed by a bit of shopping along the river-front street.
Locating the start of the Factor’s Walk, we stepped off to weave our way around the beautiful residential neighborhoods, historic buildings and city squares. The city squares are a marvel of Savannah – beautiful small gardens with fountains, monuments, benches, and large live oak trees dripping with Spanish Moss. Our walk took about 3 hours, and ended up back down at River Street.
By 3:00 we were back at the Silvermine for a rest of a couple hours, and to leave Charlie . . . then back to the downtown area for dinner and . . . whatever. The temperature was in the mid-40’s, but there was an off-an-on rain sprinkle threatening to bust the New Year’s Eve ball-drop – at least for us! Our dinner, at a riverfront crab shack, was very good, and I could have eaten a gallon of the crab dip!
Back outside on the sidewalk at 7:00, the drizzle was still drizzling and the party was not picking up. We shopped a few of the shops, and then headed back to the parking garage and the drive back to the Silvermine. Just like in year’s past, we were deep down under the covers when the New Year rang in.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
This morning, Tom announced his goal for the New Year – to travel more! OK . . .
Our excursion for the day was to Tybee Island. We followed the GPS and crossed over onto the Island by 11:30. There was not a lot of activity on the island but we weren’t sure if that was because it was New Year’s Day . . . or because it was 32 degrees! Either way, the streets were empty and none of the stores looked open. We settled at Fannie’s on the Beach restaurant for lunch a non seafood dinner – we would be cooking our own shrimp dinner at the campsite tonight.
We auto-toured the island (from the warmth of the car) and made our way over to Fort Pulaski National Monument – closed! On the way back to the Fort McAllister we shopped an impressive Bass Pro Shop for an hour.
Back at the Silvermine Tom had some outdoor chores to do – filling the water tank, checking the air tire pressure and other new-trailer checks. I had a little new trailer test of my own – my first shower! I was surprised that I liked stepping out of the hallway shower, right into the bedroom to get dressed. From inside we relaxed and watched deer and raccoons browsing in the area, and then went for a walk before starting supper.
Supper was local-caught shrimp that Tom cooked, left-over crab dip from last night, left-over wings from lunch, and a mash-up of other unhealthy food. And . . . who would have thought that I could watch episodes of Bonanza, the Rifleman, and Wagon Train on the TV while I cooked! Tomorrow we leave Savannah and head down the road to Saint Augustine.
Our “lets-try-it-out” trip got an early start Wednesday, December 28 at 7:00 a.m. – in -3 degree temperatures! As exciting as it all was to be on the way, it was a little daunting to venture out to the Silvermine with the last few items that needed to be packed. Everything was stiff from the cold, and Tom couldn’t get the electrical cord to coil up for storage – he threw it in the back of the truck, and we took off.
The route was straight down Interstate 75, one that we had traveled a hundred times until we turned off in Knoxville to continue on 75 south by-pass. Our destination was Yarberry campground just miles down the road from sister Tink. She was waiting for us as we pulled into the campground access road, and led us back to the camping area. It is amazing how many water-front sites this campground was able to excavate – some on Tellicoe Lake, and some on little coves and inlets. Camping season must last a lot longer down here in Tennessee, as there was a descent population of trailers throughout. Our site was a long, straight, back-in with a nice lake view.
Tom walked Charlie and Tink sampled the new trailer and while there was still sunlight we got some pictures of our first campsite in the new Silvermine. We stayed hitched up, and Tink drove us to our favorite dock-side restaurant, Calhoun’s, for dinner: ribs, wings, shrimp . . . wine, beer, Bloody Mary . . .
Back at the campsite by 6:30, we were ready to enjoy our first evening of real camping in the trailer – all of which took place inside due to the below freezing temperatures! COZY!
A clear, sunny 30 degrees greeted us in the morning 33 degrees above when we left Van Wert! Here’s hoping that it only gets warmer from now on!
We were on a slow track this morning with only a 3 hour drive to Atlanta in front of us. We enjoyed breakfast, coffee, and a walk around the campground before pulling out at 10:00.
It is not often I disagree with the GPS, but why she sent us south to the Atlanta beltway to run east and then head back north away from Atlanta to Cumming -- I just could not figure. Not having looked at a map, it was too late to revamp the route, and we spent a very slow hour in heavy traffic, with Atlanta speed-demons . . . and construction. Moral – keep the map handy!
Our destination, Cumming, is north and east of Atlanta, and is the home of Tom’s cousin Marilyn. We have been saying “we’ll visit you some day” ever since she moved to the Atlanta area five years ago. We were excited that “some day” is finally here!
Our campground, Twin Lakes, was less than five miles from Marilyn and our campsite was right on the water. The wifi was strong and the view was great outside our dinette table. But (and this is a BIG BUT) the campground did not have bathrooms! Our on-board bathroom got a good test run!
Marilyn came to the campsite for a few minutes, and then led us to a Mexican restaurant for a great dinner. We then spent an hour visiting at her beautiful home – her floorplan is unique, open, spacious and beautiful. And I didn’t get a single picture!
The Cotton bowl was on in the evening, but didn’t start until 8:30. We made it back to our camper for the start and enjoyed a game that didn’t tease like some of the other games this year! By midnight we were asleep.
I did manage a few pictures of the Silvermine on this second night of our voyage. Tomorrow we head for Savannah!
Last time I posted, I dropped the bomb that we were getting a new Airstream. Here is the rest of that story!
The Silvermine (III – technically!) started down the Airstream line on Friday, December 8th, and we were there the following Monday to check on the progress. By Friday the 15th she was out of the factory, passed inspection, and was shipped down to Bruce at Haydocy Airstream in Columbus. Wednesday, December 20th, we went to pick her up and bring her home.
The walk-through wasn’t a lengthy ordeal, as we already knew the Airstream operating systems pretty well. But Bruce did a full round-about inside and outside and pointed out anything that might be different or new on this model – a 25’ Front Bedroom International Serenity with twin beds and salsa finishing. It was more like a party as John and Suzie and Terry and Sue, who both live in the area, drove over to enjoy our joy! Airstream friendships is half of what Airstreaming is all about– the other half is a new unit that is just itchin’ to hit the road!
With Christmas upon us we hustled to get all of the fixings and furnishings out of the spare bedroom and squared away in the Silvermine. Even though she is longer and wider and there is plenty of room, it is always a puzzle to figure out where everything should go in the new configuration. The coffee pot didn’t fit in that little space under the kitchen sink – where do I stuff extra bedding and all my shoes? It all worked out, and there was a convenient place for everything – and several empty cupboards left over!
Here are some pictures of our new ship!
Now with the outfitting out of the way, it is time to take that first trip! On Thursday, December 28, we leave for a 3 week tour south -- to Florida. The temps here in Ohio have taken a sudden dip, and for the next 10 days there are a lot of single digits and nothing above 20 degrees! It seems like as good a time as any to check out the new Silvermine and see what she has to offer.
Our new Airstream went on line, Friday, December 8th – at 7:00 in the morning. Wait a minute -- did I forget to mention that we were getting a new Airstream? Yes, I know that we have had our 23’ Airstream for less than two years, and while she was perfect for our 9-week stint to Alaska and back, I was hungry for a bit more room for the long trips . . . and there seem to be a lot more long trips these days! Thus, we ordered a 2018 25’ Front Twin Bedroom International Serenity. It makes perfect sense!
After her first 5 hours on the line (Friday is a short work-day for Airstream) she already looked like a trailer, complete with a frame, axels, tires, end caps, and windows. We received these pictures from an Airstream worker, who tracked her down on the line and emailed them to us.
On Monday we went to the factory to take the 2:00 tour that is, by the way, one of the top 10 factory tours in the USA! We had a VIN# for the tour leader, and he tracked her down for us and introduced us. She was at the end of the first line, and was getting ready to go outside to sit overnight before jumping on the next line for plumbing and fixtures. Picture are not allowed on the tour -- unless your have a trailer that is being made -- then they are welcomed! Here are the ones we got.
On Tuesday, we marched back to the factory and visited again. We got a few more pictures – one of me standing by our Salsa-red upholstery that was about to be installed, and one of the workers installing our bathroom! She would be off the line by Wednesday or Thursday morning!
Plans progressed, and Bruce made arrangements to have the trailer hauled to him at Haydocy on Friday, and an appointment was set for Wednesday, Dec 20, 9:00 a.m. for us to pick her up! Now, the challenge is to patiently wait for Wednesday morning to roll around!
There’s one more big occasion to mark this camping season – the NOVA Christmas Party. An annual tradition hosted by Terry and Sue in early December. Each year we wait out the weather to see if will permit a comfortable camping weekend. For the past 6 years it has been a 50/50 split, and this December 2nd weekend looked promising. Three devoted couples, Lou/Larry, Carie/Alan, Tom/Ella, decided to give it a run at Alum Creek State Park, just 25 minutes from the party!
Friday, gathering day, was sunny and 50 degrees, and we were off to a good start. Our plan was to eat supper in near-by, downtown Delaware, Ohio, but when we arrived the streets were crowded and blocked off for a Christmas kick-off. We navigated to the outskirts of town and landed in a Dicky’s BBQ for supper – back to the campsite by 7:30.
Saturday was party day and after a lazy morning around a fire, a quick trip into town for lunch, and some preparation back at the campground, we left for the party at 3:00, and spent the next 7 hours eating and gabbing and winding down our Airstream Season.
Taking pictures was not on my priority list, but Tom managed to capture some candids around the table.
That's a WRAP for camping for this year in THIS Silvermine and here are the statistics:
Our camping season began on March 2 and ended on Dec 3 . . . lasting: 255 days or 8mo 10 days or 36 wks 3 days
Including our vacation to Alaska, we went on a total of 17 trips during the season.
We spent a total of 63 nights during our Great Alaska Adventure and 52 “other” nights equaling a total of 115 nights in the Silvermine for the season
Miles on the Airstream:
9666 miles to Alaska and back home
6688 “other” miles
total of 16,354 miles for the season
It is NOT a WRAP for 2017 camping, however as we plan to take off after Christmas for our first winter trek South. Check back to see what we will be traveling in!
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2016 23' Airstream, and ‘streamin’ is the name we use to describe our adventures. Stream along as we document everything from weekend trips to longer summer excursions and full-blown vacations. You know what they say: if you’re not in an Airstream – you’re just camping!
Tom & Ella Brown