Wednesday, April 19, 2017

South to North Part III

On Monday, April 3, we were sitting out tornado watches and severe thunderstorm warnings in Santee, South Carolina at the Santee state park, in our travel trailer.  Watching radar on our cell phones showed where tornadoes might appear.  For a brief moment, our county was pictured, and then thankfully it disappeared.  Even earlier that evening the ranger came around to alert campers about the possibility of a tornado; directions were to head to the brick and concrete restrooms if a tornado was imminent.  We were prepared to book it!  Although we did experience thunderstorms, predicted hail and damaging winds didn't materialize.  Our only issue is that we lost electricity for just a short time.  Overall, we were quite lucky as severe storms were happening in the areas around us.

We picked the state park off the map as it looked like a nice area and decided to stay two nights.  Electric and water hook-ups were available and the fee was not very high, although the cost eludes me now!  The loop we camped in was called Lakeshore, right on the shoreline on Lake Marion, off of the Santee River.

Heading down the road to the Santee state park.

This is part of the sinkhole the trail is named for!

We requested a campsite on the perimeter of the loop, and though we were close to the woods, we had a slight view of the lake.  Later we went down to the lake just to take it all in.

Lake Marion.

On the 3rd, before the storm warnings, we noticed a piece of something was loose in the center of the tire rim, ultimately discovered to the the bearing buddy, a cover that goes over your wheel's bearings.  A silver disc-like cover goes over the assembly and that was missing.

Two of the greatest resources we refer to for trailer answers is the Rpod owners forum and the Rpod Facebook group.  Both of these groups are very active, and everyone is free with their advice to help you solve your Rpod related problems.  Lots of folks chimed in with their comments, everything from "uh oh, your are in trouble", down the line to identifying what this loose part was.  Michael took off the wheel and rim and discovered it was an easy fix (thankfully!).  He re-installed the bearing buddy tightly, and that was that!  Once the wheel was reassembled, Michael covered the opening with duct tape, silver of course for a match, until we order a new cover to go over the bearing buddy.  Luck was on our side with this one!

A great zebra swallowtail butterfly!

One beautiful spot we visited was the Santee National Wildlife Refuge, Bluff Unit, not too far from the state park. It is bordered by Lake Marion on the west and Cantey Bay to the east. It has been called one of the best inland birding areas in the southeast.  There are forests, ponds, fields, and freshwater marsh.  After stopping at the small visitors center, we drove on the refuge road to the Santee Indian Mound that dates back to 1200 to 1450.  This one mound rose about 30' and was part of a ceremonial mound complex.  European settlers encountered the Santee Indians in the 1700's and  shipped many to the West Indies as slaves.  British troops erected Ft. Watson on the abandoned mound.  General Francis Marion, for whom the national forest is named, took it in 1781.  This remaining Santee Indian Mound was added to the National Register of Historic Places.  It was a moving experience to be there thinking about the history of this special place.  We climbed up to the observation deck allowing us to view the mound from above.

We then took a walk one the one mile Wright's Bluff Nature Trail.  It was an easy walk through the woods and overlooking Cantey Bay.

Cypress trees.

Hitching a ride!

Heading deeper into Francis Marion National Forest.

Two of our three cats traveling comfortably!

Bought great tomatoes and boiled peanuts.  I couldn't handle the smell of hose peanuts!  Michael liked them!

Now we are in NJ, visiting relatives.  I'll update soon!