Longs, SC – First Thoughts

Ah, what a beautiful view from my dining table/computer desk here at the campground.  The weather has been mixed – some beautiful days (like today) sunny and 70, while other days have been much cooler and rainy.  But overall I’m not complaining as I’ve heard several of my more northerly friends and family have already seen snow – some pretty extensively.  So I’ll enjoy the greens of my surroundings and deal with whatever temperatures are thrown my way.  Still way better than the alternatives!

WillowTree Campground

Wow – what a great campground to be spending the months of Nov and Dec.  I’m here in Longs, SC, just a few miles inland from North Myrtle Beach at the WillowTree Campground RV Resort.  This place is gorgeous!  I wasn’t able to score a true water front site, but I got the next row back and since the sites are sooooo large, there’s a giant open space in front of me that affords a clear unobstructed view of the lake.  How nice is that!  Last summer when I camped in Myrtle Beach with Sam, we stayed at a campground that was right on the ocean.  That was nice, but the place was a zoo!  With thousands of cramped RV and homestead sites, a water park, amusement center, and hundreds of golf carts running around, it was not my idea of truly relaxing.  Here at WillowTree, there is the beautiful lake and only a few hundred sites, all as spacious as I’ve seen in any campground.  Granted, it is technically off season now, but this place is so quiet and peaceful, I could stay here for a very long time.  There are more folks here on the weekends, with only the die hards (or other retirees like me) hanging around during the week.  That’s ok too as it lends itself to the relaxing atmosphere.  Truly a wonderful place to hang out for a couple months.


Giving Thanks

I was very fortunate to have both family and friends here in the area that all offered me a seat at their Thanksgiving table.  I want to thank my friend JoAnne for her invite – it was very much appreciated.  My nephew Kenny, his wife Dawn, and their four wonderful kids whom I’ve not seen in over a year and live just 1 1/2 hours north of here in NC, were also gracious to invite me to their house for Thanksgiving, and where I ultimately ended up.  As luck would have it, Kenny’s father, aka my brother-in-law Ricky and his wife Mary were also going to Kenny’s for Thanksgiving,  They live about an hour south of me, and they were kind enough to swing by the campground and pick me up on their way.  So, I had a great visit, consumed a wonderful meal, and didn’t even have to drive!  Talk about the perfect holiday.  Thanks Kenny and Dawn for hosting a terrific Thanksgiving, and thanks to Ricky and Mary for providing Uber services.

Visiting and Playing Tourist

As with all my travels, I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with local friends and family, and playing tourist to see many of the wonderful things the area has to offer.  I was happy to host my brother-in-law Ricky and his wife Mary here at the RV for a nice dinner.  Ricky and I camped for many, many years together when the kids were growing up.  He and I would often share in cooking duties when traveling.  Accordingly, I let him chose among two former campground favorites to have for our dinner.   Dutch Oven Lasagna was the choice, but due to rainy weather, I opted to cook it in the regular oven in lieu of the Dutch oven.  Oh well – it still tasted great!

My dear friend JoAnne has been playing local tour guide since my arrival.  She actually lives here in Longs and has been in the area now for several years, so she’s got all the must see places down.  I do need to pay more attention when taking selfies with her though – I’m a bit taller than she is, and it would appear that I’ve been cutting her a bit short on the photos.  Sorry about that JoAnne!

We’ve done a lot of site seeing.  We visited the town of Conway that has a beautiful historic downtown that went through a revitalization in the 1980s and now features lots of shops and bistros, and also features a wonderful river walk along the Waccamaw River.  Unfortunately, much of the walk was still closed due to the extensive damage from flooding that occurred from hurricane Florence in Sep of this year.  The river crested at 21 feet above normal range – four feet above all previously recorded flood levels.  It was devastating for Conway and the surrounding areas, and cleanup and damage repairs continue for much of that area.

On another day, we took a drive to Wilmington, NC, whose downtown Historic District and Riverwalk along the Cape Fear River is lined with wonderful restaurants, galleries and shops.  The river is also where the World War II Battleship USS North Carolina is moored.  We spent a couple hours touring the ship, going up and down among the many levels, compartments, and crevices.  Sure glad they had fairly good signage to keep us going in the right direction.  It was very cool to see technology from the early 40’s, and also how demanding the living conditions were on these things.  Sure gives me a much better appreciation for the those sailors who served on this ship.  

We also took a nice walking tour of Vereen Memorial Historical Gardens – a scenic Marsh Boardwalk and Nature Trail.  This park, sometimes known as the Vereen Botanical Gardens, features numerous hiking trails and wooden boardwalks that extend across several beautiful salt marshes and small islands, with a nice gazebo that overlooks the Intracoastal Waterway and the distant waterfront of Little River. The Gardens also include the historic Vereen Family Cemetery, which features Revolutionary war graves.  There are also several Wishing Trees – a practice of placing shells on a tree and making a wish.  Very quaint!  There’s lots more to see and do, and with my trusty tour guide, I’m confident we’ll get to most of it in the coming weeks.

More Decorations

So I saw this idea on Facebook, and had to use it. A collection of photos on canvas representing the chronology and evolution of your camping style throughout the years. So I dug through my pictures and found the best representation of each level of camping we’ve done over time, and sent them off to be made. I was very surprised to find a picture of our tenting days, but alas I found one from a trip I took with Sam when she was very young.  The canvas pictures turned out pretty good I think, and the placement along both windows by the couch is a good place to hang them.

The other thing that I got made while here in SC was a front license plate for the truck.  Since Florida vehicle registration only includes a rear plate, the front of the truck needed a little something.  I figured a beach town would certainly have local artisans that do air brush paintings and such so I could get something custom made.  When visiting a local flea market, I came across such a local artisan.  I handed him my business card with my Luv2RV logo on it and asked if it could be put on a license plate.  He took a picture of it, sent it to his computer, and using a graphics tool, was able to quickly mock up what it would look like.  It was awesome, and by the next day, I had a custom painted plate with my logo on it for the front of the truck.  How cool!

Next Steps

Well, I’m here in Longs for an additional 5 weeks before moving on.  During that time, I will continue to play tourist, have an operation performed on my truck, go to a TSO concert, and take a short trip back north to spend Christmas with the family.  I’ll update you on those activities and more in the next installment.  Until then, be well, safe travels, and happy holidays!



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