A beautiful, uneventful drive on the 15th. We left at 7:50 am from Washington. We'd had a slight change of plans! I-95 all the way. Our first stop was a really nice rest area/info centre just over the state line into North Carolina. We made lunch here. Biggest rest area we have ever seen. In Canada you're never sure if you can fit in/turn around/get out again. We're not sure what the truckers do - there seem to be no rest areas for them. Our next stop was at J&R Cigars. There were billboards for miles leading up to it so we thought we would stop - it wasn't just cigars - kitchen ware, clothing, books, local wine, cigarettes and CIGARS! You could smell them as soon as you walked in. They had a huge smoking room (that obviously did not contain all the smoke). The store itself seemed as big as the hangar at the air museum. We got a couple of books and a new yorkshire pan.
We arrived at Ocean Lakes Family Campground in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina at about 5:30. Our site is 130 feet from the ocean. Gorgeous and warm! And palm trees! There are 3447 sites in this park. There are 893 RV sites, most about 30 feet wide with cement pads and daily garbage pick-up, and 2557 homes as well. In the housing area, one can lease a site annually and put whatever kind of house on it (as long as it coforms to building codes). The park covers 310 acres and is family-owned. The parents started it 40 years ago, with 30 basic sites, while in their fifties, with a few sites and it has grown over the years to what it is today. The parents both passed away in the last couple of years but they had five daughters. It is run as a corporation with a board of directors, with the daughters taking turns to represent the family. Apparently they are here quite often. It has nearly a mile of oceanfront and encompasses a mile up each side as well. If you want to see a map have a look at www.oceanlakes.com. We were in site 2218!
On the 16th we went for our usual drive around the area, almost to the North Carolina border in the north and south to Surfside. It is quite a beautiful spot with hotels sprinkled along the shore, none more than about 10 storeys. It's clean and well-kept. Surfside has homes all along the shore, many are rentals. Most of them are raised on stilts and there are signs everywhere that the area is subject to flooding. We drove around the RV park as well. We discovered the RV Centre - they rent, sell and repair RV's, mostly 5th wheels and trailers. We also found the Golf Car rental and sales centre. Later in the day we rented a golf car for two days. This enabled us to explore the park more thoroughly. They have about 1000 golf cars in their pool and in the summer they are all rented out with a waiting list. There are four places to eat, including poolside and also pizza delivery by golf car. There is an arcade, mini-golf and a laundry facility with 100 machines open 24 hours a day - they will even do your laundry for you if you want! They also offer a storage service - they will pull-out or deliver your RV to your site as many times during the season as you want. Indeed there are several acres of storage around the area. There are also eight lakes within the park that are stocked with fish.
On the 17thand 18th we just enjoyed our location. We drove around the park in our golf car alot. It was a nice way to cool off. We went to Camping World to look around. We met a couple from Surrey while we were there. They were staying at Myrtle Beach State Park. They had driven through Ocean Lakes but didn't care for it. So we went and had a look. It reminded us of what we really liked about Ocean Lakes - cement pad (no dirt), no trees (good satellite), and ocean view - at the State Park you couldn't even see it. So we were happy with our choice. On the 18th the weather changed. The clouds rolled in in the afternoon and the rain got serious while we were at dinner. There was supposed to be thunder and lightning but it was just very heavy rain. We drove through some huge puddles on the way back to the park. It didn't rain much in the night. We were all packed up to travel so nothing had to be packed away wet.
There was a very heavy shower on the 19th just as we woke up and it was showery all the way to Asheville. We're into fall colour territory now and it's beautiful! We parked at WalMart (on purpose) because we couldn't find a park that had good reviews. It couldn't be nicer. We parked at the back edge of the lot, right beside a park full of squirrels.