Congaree National Park and Sesquicentennial State Park

So we picked up our new family member in Columbia, SC while staying at Sesquicentennial State Park.  This place was a bit of a challenge for us: we generally enjoy state parks, finding them to be a great value for reasonable services in nice, uncrowded settings.  While Sesqui had all that, their road and site maintenance left a lot to be desired.


Inside the campground itself the roads are packed dirt and gravel with lots of poorly filled potholes and at least one very tight area in the back loop between two mature trees.  The actual RV sites, though plentiful, are packed dirt with ruts, awkward approaches, significant mud, and worst off all, many of them are laughably un-level.  I mean, not only would it be impossible to level any kind of rig  on them, some would be difficult to even back into, the angle being so steep.IMG_6132

After trying out two spots that were unsuitable, we finally got some help from a ranger, who directed us further around to some of the larger sites.  Even then we had trouble, taking a pass on the one she had in mind before selecting one of the few pull through spots.  We hooked up 30 amp power and water (no sewage, though a dump station is at the front of the camp), and went to pick up our Pad Kee Meow in Loki.

Pad Kee Meow finds something interesting to abuse on her first night in the bus

Pad Kee Meow finds something interesting to abuse on her first night in the bus

Returning after dark we got our new cat settled in before noticing that the electrical power was fluctuating quite a bit, our inverter and breakers clicking, before it finally kicked off entirely.  I played around with the breakers on site and at the main panel a few spots over before giving up,  cutting our high demand breakers on the bus to prevent an overload, pulling out our adapter and plugging in to the regular 20 amp circuit.  The next morning we contacted the front office who sent out their maintenance ranger, and he had it squared away pretty quickly, replacing the 30 amp breaker.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We spent an afternoon at Congaree National Park down the road, exploring their visitor center, watching the park introductory movie, and doing some very light day hiking along the raised boardwalk trails and one of the regular loops.  Rosemarie was feeling a bit under the weather during our stay, and the recent heavy flooding in the Carolinas had left most of Congaree’s trails impassable, so we spent a lot less time at this NP than we would normally.   It is a beautiful place, but a challenge to see because in the summer it is damned hot and muggy, and in the fall and winter it floods regularly.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

At the end of our Sesqui thee day stay we had a bit more drama.  Upon our initial entry we made note of the three short but steep sections on the main park road leading down towards the ranger station and campground.  I had a twinge of nervousness about how we would handle the grade when it came time to leave given how underpowered and overgeared we are.  Sure enough, as we departed Kahuna struggled mightily to get up the steepest of the three hills, our attempt aggravated by an inability to get a “run-a-go” at the grade since the roads are very curvy.  After a couple of tense moments we made it up to the top at a slow crawl.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

From Columbia it was on towards Wilmington, with the plan to drop off The Big Kahuna at the the place from which we bought him for temporary storage while we took our tow vehicle, Loki, for visits with family in Norfolk, Virginia and then back to my Mom’s and Stepdad’s house in Wilmington. Things worked out a bit differently. More to follow.



Our Congaree Cat: Welcoming a new member to the Shell on Wheels adventure

Our slight southern detour towards Colombia, SC was for more than just visiting Congaree National Park, it was also to pick up our new household member, a young Siamese cat from the regional rescue center specific to this breed.  We had been working with Monique for months to find the right cat for us: young, personable, not easily spooked, affectionate, not likely to dart off as soon as a door opened.  After several misfires we finally got the green light for Pad Kee Meow, a one year old female.IMG_3855

Since Congaree NP does not allow camping other than tents, we researched and settled on Sesquicentennial State Park less than half an hour down the road.  After an unusually difficult time finding an unreserved spot large enough for the Big Kahuna, dry enough to avoid getting stuck, and level enough so as not to be irritating during our three day stay, we finally hooked up services, unhooked Loki, and headed to the Debra’s, the foster mom, to pick up our new cat.

She is exactly right for us.  Very calm, very affectionate, inquisitive but concerned enough about the outdoors that she doesn’t bolt for the door when it opens.  She is spayed, up to date on shots, litter trained, and took to a harness and leash surprisingly fast, within a few minutes we had her outside on the leash, though she absolutely will not be led or heel.IMG_3935

We had no trouble transitioning her to the motorhome space, no issues with adjusting her food to what we purchased, and so far no scratching of the furniture.  The only stress has been the noise of the bus engine freaking her out a bit.  A combination of sitting on Rosemarie’s lap or in her carrier seems to alleviate most of the stress, but she will have to get used to moving a lot with our lifestyle.IMG_3955

Her name is a slight alteration of a Thai dish, Pad Kee Mao, or drunken noodles.  I have always liked imaginative cat names with a play on words, such as Chairman Meow and Hunter S. Thomcat, so we devised our own.IMG_3973

Having a pet in the RV can limit you somewhat since a small percentage of parks are pet free, but the one example of those we like is close enough to Rosemarie’s mom who has enthusiastically agreed to cat sit during our stay.  We thought a cat would be far less limiting than a dog, particularly during any trips away from the motorhome.  Any RV cat owners have any suggestions or advice?