Thanksgiving Camping in GA Part I

Posted on 11/27/2023 in misc

Trip: 40
Nights: 130-137

Photo Album

The original plan was to fly to Vegas, rent a camper van, and spend a week in Death Valley and Joshua Tree. However, most of Death Valley is still inaccessible due to the summer hurricane, and the government shutdown was scheduled for the day before our flight. Flying to Vegas seemed like a risky proposition, so I canceled that trip and headed south in our camper instead.

We left RVA on my birthday and drove about 5 hours to Sand Hills State Forest in rural SC. Our $15 campsite was lakeside and came with a huge CCC era stone pavilion. We were only there overnight, but it is easily one of my favorite campsites ever. We didn't see another human there, and within 15 minutes of arrival I spotted a pair of red-headed woodpeckers, a lifer for me.

After a very dark and quiet night, we headed out towards Conagree National Park. When we got to the park, I stepped on Michelle's makeup mirror that had fallen during transit. I'm sure the broken mirror had nothing to do with the fact that I then forgot to switch the fridge to propane before starting our hike. We were about an hour into the hike when we remembered. I speed walked back to the truck but was not surprised to find the battery so dead that the power locks didn't work. At that point, I reset the fridge to propane and speed walked back to Michelle to continue our hike, as the truck wasn’t going anywhere and I figured I could get a jump start when we were ready to leave. A park volunteer had a portable starter in his car and kindly jumped me later so it all worked out.

Conagree exceeded expectations. It's the smallest National Park, but it delivers. The 2.5 mile boardwalk through the forest is really nice. We saw some good birds, and learned a lot about the ecology that makes the area special. After that, we continued on to our next stop, Skidaway Island State Park, just south of Savannah, GA. We got in at 5 PM, so we had just enough daylight to set up camp.

Photo collage

On Monday, we had a 2-hour walking tour of Savannah booked. We turned out to be the only people that booked that tour, so we got a 2-hour private tour. The tour was great. We learned all about Savannah history and why it has always been a bit of a sleepy backwater sort of place. We had lunch at the Six Pence Pub, which was fine but wildly overpriced. After lunch, we wandered around some more before eventually heading back to the camper for dinner.

Savannah as a city is fine, if a bit underwhelming. I thought the squares the city is so known for would be more interesting. I don't have any complaints, but everything just seemed very average. It seems like a fine place to live, but as a tourist destination, there isn’t a lot going on. I guess that sort of fits with the Slowvannah nickname familiar to the locals.

Monday night was rainy, so we spent it in the camper doing the Netflix and chill thing.

It was pouring Tuesday morning, so we slept in a bit. We had to switch campsites, so we hung out waiting for the people on our next site to leave, which they did around 11. After moving the camper and lunch, we headed into Savannah. We started at the Juliette Gordon Low birthplace. She is the founder of Girl Scouts. This was very much Michelle's thing, but it was interesting. She was a bit of a badass and way ahead of her time in many ways. After that, we toured the Davenport House, a well-preserved Federal Style house built in 1820. I really appreciated that the tour started in the basement with a discussion of how the middle and upper class back then only existed due to the unpaid labor of the enslaved people doing all the work in the household. We also wandered into a small military museum that was all a private collection containing artifacts from every war the US has been in. After a fabulous dinner of shrimp and grits, we headed back to the camper to chill for the night.

Photo collage

Part 2

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