AreVthereYet? Day 9 & 10: Charleston

Charleston Day 2-3

We had a great couple of days at the Charleston KOA. The kids enjoyed a quick morning with Grandaddy Ted and some finishing. Then he and my Barbara got on the road.

For the rest of our time there, the kids spend lots of time bike riding and exploring the camp with their ‘cousins’! Unfortunately we got rained in for dinner, so we had to hang in the camper and play some games.

We ended up extending a night in Charleston to avoid having 2 stops in FL. Of course COVID was spiking all along our route so we felt better eliminating one more point to deal with. On our final day in Charleston, we packed up the RVs and prepared to leave. Things went very smoothly and we hit the road to Savannah. The kids couldn’t sit for 30 minutes before they asked, “AreVthereYet”?!

AreVthereYet Day 8

Three Days in Charleston! Day One!

So we had great plans to head out early on Monday and explore Charleston, but it was also my girlfriends birthday, so we had to have a special breakfast! Remember those crab balls? Remember those grits? It.was.on. I figured this was a great opportunity to use my new 3 qt instant pot and the air fryer. So the grits went into the small instant pot and I fried the crab balls in the 6 quart with our Air Fryer attachment.

Well I learned that my normal pot in pot method works much better than cooking the grits directly in the instant pot. I had to worry over those grits in that little pot more than I wanted to – first time I’ve seen the ‘food burn’ sign on any instant pot.

I just have to say, the crab balls were a big hit!! After a lovely but late breakfast, we went off to Charleston. We had the chance to learn about local history with Gullah Geechee Tours. Our guide was super informative and very passionate about history. The kids had so many questions and he answered each of them patiently and fully.

Given all that is going on, our visit was timely. We toured on Monday June 22 and on June 23 the City Council voted to remove the John Calhoun statue and on June 24, it came down!

After our tour, we went back to the camp site with a quick stop at a bakery to get some cupcakes for a birthday treat!

AreVthereYet Day 7

Well, today is Fathers Day!! Happy Day to all the Fathers, Uncles, Dad’s and important father figures. Phil had to make breakfast and break camp, but other than that we spoiled him mercilessly. Oh, and he had to drive and make the fire in the fire pit, but we gave him cards. Plus there were the chairs and stuff he had to haul so we could set up, but… Well, so at least we had good family time!

At the start of the day, the kids got up first thing and headed for the go carts. Then they figured out how to shuttle Phil and I around in some sort of 4 person cart. It was a little bit of a struggle going up the ‘hill’, but all in all it was cool.

And they are off!
A drive and a tour all in one
What a contraption!

We took off for Charleston and had a relatively uneventful drive. It was only a couple of hours and we arrived not too long after our friends did. And I was super excited because my Dad and my Barbara came to see us in Charleston! So, we got to share Fathers Day with 3 Dad’s! And our puppies had great fun hanging out with each other. Kizzy, made friends with both Rocky and Nala and Rocky and Nala were companionable. We had good fun swimming, riding bikes, sitting around the fire, eating s’mores and telling stories.

My son always seems to figure out how to get someone’s phone. Thanks my Barbara for sharing!
Grandaddy’ Ted’s Sunset bike ride!

AreVthereYet Days 6

What a weekend! We had a lazy start to Day 6, except for my son who ran off first thing! I was preparing breakfast when he came back to the RV with a report, “Mommie, I went to the desk and I’ve arranged for the use of a go cart! It’s free, I don’t have to pay anything!” Well if you know my son, he is a negotiator and will charm anyone, so I was doubtful. However it turns out that at the KOA in Myrtle Beach, the GoCarts are free and he and his sister took off for them! We didn’t see them for ages as they rode around the park visiting and exploring.

I was super excited to use my instant pot for breakfast! Phil pulled it out and I set out to make my grits! Instant Pots are great a solution for grits. You just set it up and the IP does all the work and watching!

…As a quick sidebar, honestly I’d been waiting all week for this! From long ago, when instant pots first became a thing, I remember seeing a story by someone who used an Instant Pot in their RV. I was sold! We didn’t have an RV, nor had I ever traveled in one! But, I was sold! So imagine how critical it was that we found space for the Instant Pot on our inaugural RV journey! And imagine how much I was looking forward to cooking with it! Now back to the RV…

I had everything ready, started the pot and watched it come to pressure. It seems pretty fast, but the pot was hot so it was working. I busied myself with my other tasks and when it was done opened it up, to see UNCOOKED GRITS. 😡. They looked just like they did at the beginning except now I messed up my foil seal.

About this time, hungry jack and hungry jane came back. I was forced to say I had nothing. I could whip something up, but no grits. Can you imagine what my son said, “it’s ok Mommie, I will wait for the grits.” With those eyes and that charm, I had to get them done! I redoubled my efforts, but after another attempt, I gave up and put them on the stove. We finally had grits around 12:30p and the kids snacked on them (plus the sausage I made) throughout the day.

While the grits were a bust, I figured out how to use my IP as a slow cooker to make my rice and peas. They turned out well, except that I forgot to season them because of the pain of my grits. Hey, salt anyone?

After our run to Walmart for my 3qt Instant Pot.

As a final note, I must say that later that day, the Instant Pot redeemed itself. I was so disgusted with my IP failure I went and got another (that’ll show it 😂). It was a good thing though because Phil had to make spaghetti — it was our plan B meal, but he couldn’t grill because it rained. So there we were, 8 people in our RV with 2 instant pots humming for dinner in the rain. AreVthereYet?

AreVthereYet Day 5

It’s FriYay! Our RV journey continues into the weekend!

We woke up feeling refreshed in Wilmington. It was really the first time we felt rested! First task of the day… to empty the tanks 😳. We (really Phil) put on gloves and worked it out while Peyton supervised.

Then we had breakfast, got some work done and prepared to hit the road. The kids made friends and enjoyed exploring the park with them – and how they have pen pals in San Antonio, TX. What a truly cool experience from our RV journey. I do have to say, most everyone has been so friendly and welcoming!

Once we were packed up we left Wilmington and made our traditional road trip stop at… Dollar Tree! We learned on our first long road trip to Charlotte that Dollar Tree is a great stopping point while on the way. There are drinks, snacks, kids activities, and a bathroom if the kids need it! This time however we only needed a few items (love those super large ziploc bags for organizing) and then we were on our way.

We had some challenges with the RV on this leg, but let’s hope they don’t repeat themselves. Unfortunately the RV Rental owner was stumped and so were we. Nothing to do with safety, but something we don’t want to have to worry about.

On this leg of the trip, I had the chance to drive. That was an experience – it’s kind of like driving an old SUV. Remember the ones that swayed every time a semi passed? Except it’s always swaying and don’t let a semi pass! A bit nerve wracking but we managed for the few hours until Phil couldn’t take being a passenger any more.

The best part of arriving at the KOA in Myrtle Beach… we found our friends! After 5 days on the road, we met up with our friends and their children. The kids were over the moon to see their ‘cousins’ and we were thrilled to have fellow travelers and friends for this adventure!

We were so happy to see them – we didn’t have any photos, but a good time was had by all! And now, we look forward to two days without anyone asking, “AreVthereYet?”

AreVthereYet Days 3&4

The adventure continues! We left Grandma and Granddaddy’s and drove to Hampton Roads Winery in Elberon, VA.

Short drive but still time for a little rest.

What a lovely place! Driving in through the lane bordered by Magnolia Trees, past the stately house and the Winery Building, the kids were excited to see the vineyards. After parking and settling in we had a private wine tasting including the “house white”, red blends with Norton grapes (native to Virginia), and a wine slushy. And they have goats – the worlds largest goat tower and live in goats!

David and Dianne, the Vintners, were wonderful and very hospitable. For our first evening ‘on our own’ it was the perfect place to relax and explore.

The next morning we got up, did a little more exploring and then we were off to Wilmington, North Carolina. Fortunately we had the chance to meet and catch up with one of Phil’s best friends, Uncle Rodney on the way.

We spent Thursday evening with my cousins Alice and Jeff in Wilmington, before going to our campground. It was great to catch up and the kids got to share lots of stories of our travels and play a little piano (which made me very happy)! Thanks so much to Alice and Jeff for hanging out with us!

We arrived at our first campsite, hooked up and turned in for the evening – it had been a very long day! Until tomorrow, when we are off to our next adventure and the kids ask, “AreVthereYet?”

AreVthereYet Days 2 & 3

The adventure continues

We made it to Grandma and Granddaddy’s house. Phil is the real MVP! After 2 weeks of non stop work around the house and packing for the RV trip of a lifetime, he drove 8 hours (including 2 stops) from NJ to MD.  What a champ!

Parking was a little tricky, but he managed a three point turn (in a 29 foot camper is that like an 87 point turn?) into a parking spot in his parents driveway. And he extended the slide out! That was amazing because I was so tired I would have gone to bed without it.

We all slept well, even as we tried to acclimate to the sounds of the outdoors. It’s like sleeping in a tent, you hear every scratch and wind gust like it’s right there.

So happy we are at ‘home’. We get to try everything out with the safety net of a real bathroom and some extra supplies to secure anything that doesn’t stay in place (painters tape anyone). And lots of special time with Grandma, Grandaddy and Aunty Auntie!

We spent the next day getting settled and being spoiled by Grandma and Granddaddy. We had a wonderful breakfast and kid koverage while we went grocery shopping. Then we finished up the day with a blue crab feast in the evening — it was so nice being there. The kids got to ride on the boat with Grandaddy!

We even got to hook up the electric to the house and lived without the generator for the time we were there. What a wonderful way to ease into RV living.

On Day 3 we woke up and started preparing to leave. Granddaddy had 1.5lbs of fresh crab that he’d picked out of the shells and I was able to make crab balls. That is certainly going to be a treat on the road!!

Fresh from the crab pot and picked by hand!

Crab balls ready to travel. Popped them right in the freezer and we will be ready to airfry them – yummm!!

Getting set up to hit the road… And one more special gift from Grandma… but I will wait to share.

Here we are ready to head out! Thanks so much to Grandma, Granddaddy and Aunty Auntie for a super fun visit on our adventure! Now we are off to the Hampton Roads Winery in Virginia. Anyone want to guess how often we will hear, “AreVthereYet?”

AreVthereYet? Day 1.

Well, the Smith Family is off on another grand adventure! Starting today, we are heading out on the Great American Family Road Trip, in an RV! Stay tuned for posts on this site and our new site, “AreVthereYet” (once I figure out how to set it up)!

In the meantime, I just have to say, we have So.Much.Stuff! It seems we packed for the entire summer, so if we get inspired, we can always return the rental, buy an RV and head out again!

The kids did an amazing job getting ready and they were only mildly frustrated when we were behind schedule. This is in the last 5 minutes before we got on the road.

We underestimated the amount of time to get to the RV Rental, but we finally arrived around 2pm (2.5 hours behind our 11:30a planned arrival). AJ gave us a tour of the RV, who the kids have named, “The Big Dipper,” and while Phil loaded the RV and before I unpacked the items we could fit in the camper (thank goodness for under camper storage), I took a quick selfie. Still practicing social distancing even in the great outdoors.

Peyton took the first shot at narrating our trip, and although she wants to work on videography, here is a clip.

After we finally got settled, here we are, finally on the road – ready for our trip to begin…

About 5 minutes into the journey, Nala decided to relocate to get closer to the action and Peyton decided to cuddle up.

Today we have to get to Maryland to see Grandma and Grandaddy, but it’s going to be a long 6 hours. In the time I’ve taken to write this post, we’ve been asked 50’eleven times for dinner and had to make one bathroom stop. And now the kids have switched around:

I think the littles are settling down a bit, but I am sure they are wondering… AreVthereYet?