Travel Stage: After Hoover, AL, before Washington, D.C.
Date Range: March 11-20, 2016
Summary: The DC Cherry Blossom peak bloom forecast was moved up two weeks, so our travel time from Alabama to Washington, D.C. was cut in half. As a result, we traverse 5 states in less than two weeks to get there!
Traveling is hard work. On our travel days, we set the expectation that nothing else is going to get done. That way, if we feel exhausted by the time we pack up, slides in, hitch up, drive for hours, arrive, register, find the site, level the rig, unhitch, put out the slides, and unpack – phew! – we can just relax and recover.
We also try not to travel any more than 3-4 hours maximum on any given day. Preferably, we go about 2 hours. This is because towing the fifthwheel is a little bit more stressful than normal driving, and when you do this every week or more it gets really old really fast. So when we were looking at the two weeks in between Hoover, Alabama and Washington, D.C., we were a little concerned about how strenuous it was going to be.
The general idea was to blaze our way north, stopping for just a night or two in each state all the way to Fishersville, where we would leave the fifthwheel for about a week and head to stay with Tom’s aunt who lives in Arlington, VA just outside Washington, D.C.
We left Hoover in the afternoon of March 11 and crossed the Georgia border around 5:00pm. Not wanting to hit Atlanta at rush hour, we pulled off at the Welcome Center Rest Stop for several hours while traffic died down. Luckily, we have our house with us at all times, so we just hung out in our living room as we waited. Plus, we had great cell service, so were able to do a couple hours of work including a business meeting.
We braved driving through Atlanta around 9:00pm. It was a Friday, but traffic was surprisingly light. Despite the roughly worn roads, we made it through without much ado. We kept driving for about an hour or so until we felt like we were far enough away from the city to not experience bad traffic in the morning. We pulled into a Cracker Barrel and hit the hay.
South Carolina – Carolina Landing Thousand Trails
About 2 hours of driving after we awoke, we made it to a campground in a town called Fair Play. It was one of our Thousand Trails campgrounds called Carolina Landing, which was the hilliest, steepest campground we’d ever been to. We were nervous with some of the turns and dips, and even scraped our bumper hitch bike rack to get into our site.
This campground, like a lot of campgrounds we’ve seen on our adventure, seemed like it had left its glory days in the past. The too narrow rows and too small sites were not designed for the fifthwheels and motorcoaches of today. Old buildings were musty, an old swimming pool stood empty, and entire loop of campsites laid overgrown, trees growing up out of the cement slabs. Worst of all, two days later when we went to dump our tanks, the dump station overflowed! We reported this incident to the office and they assured us they would go address the issue. Rainy weather kept us inside for our two nights we were there, but we wanted to explore the more. This northern region of South Carolina had lots of hills, valleys, rivers, and lakes; it was very much unlike the Low Country we experienced in the winter. We definitely want to return and see it! A lull in the rain allowed us to stick the drone up in the air and take a look around. The campground was right on a spectacular-looking lake!
From Fair Play, we had a long drive up north of Charlotte to Huntersville. Remember when we stayed on the Farm in November-December? We stopped there again, and stayed 3 glorious spring days boondocking in the flowering field.
We also squeezed in a couple of swimming and kayaking adventures with the pups! This was the first time we had them in kayaks, and they both did GREAT!
Virginia – FISHERSVILLE
We had exchanged a longer driving day for that third day at the Farm. We drove 5.5 hours (ugh!) from Huntersville to Fishersville, Virginia to Tom’s cousin Becky’s home where we had ALSO stayed the previous fall. We parked our house back in our spot next to the horse barn and prepared for our trip into the capital. Ironically, the day before the first day of spring we got our first snow of the winter! It also was the first time our fifthwheel had seen the snow.
We made the final leg of our mad dash in a trip of about 2.5 hours from Fishersville to Arlington on March 20 – the first day of spring. The peak bloom was holding out for a few more days due to a cold snap that hit the area, and we had made it in time!
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