I’m cruising toward Georgia in the Carolina Mountains at the breakneck speed of 10MPH. That’s because someone failed to put the DEF (exhaust fluid) into the tank, and when that happens the vehicle goes into “limp” mode, which I should be used to by now, since I am married and over 60.
I pull in to the local Ford store after 5:30PM fully expecting them to be closed, but, defying all of the bad luck I’ve had on this trip, I’m amazed to find that not only are they open, they are prepared to provide me with a NASCAR-style pit crew performance to get me back on the road ASAP. In no time at all, the service department at Franklin Ford has me up and running like a champ. Thanks, guys!
But this has put me seriously behind, so that when I arrive at my final destination in Hiawassee, Georgia, it’s dusk. By now I am used to running behind and setting up blind in the dark, so everything goes pretty smooth during the set up, and I even have time to join the other campers for a pot luck supper and watch the sun go down over the mountains.
In the morning, I have to call a service guy out to fix the problems I’ve been developing along the way, like a broken shower door, a whiny jack motor, and a leaky faucet. $100 does the trick, but I doubt the shower door repair will last long, and of course I lose a few hours dealing with it.
For the next few days we explore the area, but the most memorable highlights are happy hours on the porch at the campground, where all the guests get together to swap stories and lie. It’s a great way to learn the ins and outs of RV’ing, and something I wished I’d done from the start.
Here’s what I’d suggest you do if you’re in the area:
- Get wet in Chatuge Lake-rent a boat or Jetski, or just jump in at the beach
- Go to Bell Mountain and spray paint your name on the rocks. Yes, it’s illegal, but it’s too late to worry about that now, since the rocks are covered in graffiti and you probably already have a record anyway (or maybe I’m projecting). While there, enjoy the jaw-dropping, 360 degree views. Just make sure you don’t wimp out and park in the lower lot. That’s for Civics, Camrys, and other neutered appliances. Ignore the warning signs, and power straight to the top lot where you belong, big boy!
- Go to Helen, but not in a handbasket. Helen, Georgia is meant to look like a German alpine village, and they did a pretty good job as long as you don’t look too close. It’s got great shopping for unusual items like Dutch figurines, cuckoo clocks, hand-blown glassware and the like, but most importantly they have cold German beer, horse-drawn carriages, and a river just made for tubing on a hot summer’s day.
- Waterfalls-too many to mention. There is at least one worth seeing in every cardinal direction, but my favorite, both because of easy access and physical beauty, is Anna Ruby.
- Wine Tasting-I’d recommend Hightower Creek Vineyards
- Feeding Goats on the Roof. Because-well, just because.
OK, now down to the nitty-gritty. What did this cost? Here’s the rundown of expenses:
- Diesel $125
- DEF (Exhaust Fluid) $15
- Wine tasting (and buying) $45
- Helen Gifts and soveiners $53
- Dining $57
- Helen Tubing $43
- Camp site $159
- Groceries $90
- RV Supplies $55
- RV Repairs $100
That’s a pretty cheap vacation by most anyone’s standards (keep in mind this is for 5 days).
OK, here’s the bottom line on RV’ing as far as i can see:
- This is for people with kids. Not one kid. At least two or more, and with one or more dogs.
- This is for people with time. Lots of time. This is not for people who want to go to Vegas and roll the dice for the night.
- This is for people with money. Lots of money. Because in spite of whatever you save on hotels, you’ve already spent enough to feed 100 African families for a year just buying the RV.
- This is for people who like people. This is not for loners or iconoclasts.
- This is for people who like nature, or at least the sounds of the wild. This is not for people who like cities.
- This is for people who are flexible. This is not for people who get upset by minor inconveniences like no Internet, TV, phone, water, sewer, or electric.
So there you have it…my conclusions in a nutshell. Based on those, I’ve decided to sell the fifth wheel. No, this isn’t for me. I can’t deal with all of the hassles of setting up this monster wherever I go. I’ve heard it’s way easier in a motorhome. So, that’s my next adventure! Yes, really. I’m looking for one now. And yes-I AM crazy, but there are worse things in the world.
I am heading home tomorrow I’ll make one last one day stop and we’ll be there. Ciao!